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Education Ministry urged to double capitation for special schools

Most schools within Nairobi remained closed following a government directive to have all-day primary and secondary schools closed Photo by Farah Yusuf
Most schools within Nairobi remained closed following a government directive to have all-day primary and secondary schools closed Photo by Farah Yusuf

The National Assembly Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity now wants the Ministry of Education to double capitation for schools with students with special needs, in order to address challenges faced by teachers in those institutions.

Speaking at St Jude Malaba Special School for mentally challenged children, after listening to views from stakeholders, the Committee Chaired by Mandera East Member of Parliament (MP), Yusuf Adan Haji, noted that schools for children with special needs, should be given special attention by the government.

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Teso North Member of Parliament, Oku Kaunya, and his Kamukunji and Shinyalu counterparts, Yussuf Hassan and Fred Ikana, said stakeholders in the schools they visited expressed the need to develop a curriculum for schools with special needs and provide free health care for the learners.

“We shall make sure no student with special needs is left behind,” he said, noting that a Report would be tabled in parliament, to address the welfare of minorities, including the disabled, women, and caregivers to be provided with stipend by the National Government.

The Executive Secretary, Kenya National Union of Teachers, Teso Branch, Geoffrey Ekasiba and the Board of Management of Malaba Special School for Mentally challenged, appealed to the Committee to recommend for risk allowances for teachers in special schools, saying they are vulnerable to assault by the pupils they teach.

The Committee collected views from stakeholders of three schools in Western Region and three others in Nyanza. They will later compile a Report before tabling it in the National Assembly for debate.

Malaba Special School Head teacher, Praxidies Ekisa, said there are three schools with special needs in Teso North, namely, Malaba, Kakemer, and Kakapel, adding that two more are in Teso South and a similar number in Teso Central.

Ms. Ekisa said the Institution, which opened the door to the public in 2001, started with five children, noting that its population currently stands at 70.

The Head teacher said the learners have benefited from three classrooms worth Sh2.3million, grants for food and accommodation from the Ministry of Education, NG-CDF through education bursaries and Sh1m for purchase of land, and donations from well-wishers.

” The school has  seven classrooms hosting both classes and staffroom,  two latrines and toilet,  one  makeshift kitchen made of old iron sheets,  two water tanks and dormitory cum classrooms, one for girls and for boys’, said the Head teacher.

Ms. Ekisa cited challenges facing the Institution which include lack of adequate classrooms, dining hall, permanent source of water, land for expansion, proper fencing, lack of workshop, tools, and equipment for Vocational Training, lack of enough teachers, support staff, lack of school nurse and therapist, little and delayed funding from the Ministry and poor parental participation in terms of fee payment.

To chart way forward for the school Ekisa, urged the Ministry of Education to make the special school TVET complaint to handle vocation training, increase funding in FPE, feeding programs to all special schools, increased sensitization and advocacy to stakeholders, proper enumeration for teachers working in special schools, improvement of infrastructure and timely disbursement of capitation funds.

KNA
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