Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui has sponsored a bill seeking to enhance support for special needs children across the country. A recent study by the National Survey on Children with Disabilities and Special Needs in Education revealed that 11 per cent of all learners in the country have at least one form of disability.
Of the special needs learners, 35 per cent of them get their education in special schools, while the remaining 65 per cent are in regular schools with designed units and sections to accommodate their disability.
As per the proposed Basic Education (Amendment) Bill 2019, Ministry of Education will be required to establish at least 47 boarding schools for learners with special needs who include pupils with learning difficulties, visual and hearing impairments, physical disabilities and those with emotional challenges.
Statistics show that learners with visual impairment account for 3.1 per cent, physical disability 3 per cent, intellectual disability 2.5 per cent, hearing impairment 1.2 per cent, speech and language at 0.9 per cent and deaf and blind at 0.2 per cent.
“This move is to address the plight of these children who may be travelling long distances in order to attend classes,” reads the Bill.
Suppose the Bill is passed, each county will have at least one primary and secondary school with free boarding facilities in each county. However, MP Tonui’s bill contradicts Education ministry resolution seeking to integrate learners with special needs in regular public schools to end discrimination, stigma and low self-esteem, and boost confidence.
According to special needs education director Fredrick Haga who admitted that the current disability support system is underfunded, inefficient and gives people with disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate support, the mainstream special education will phaseout in stages.