Attention on learners with special needs during the Pandemic
By Phillip Ndolo | June 4th 2020
When the first Coronavirus case was reported in Kenya, the
government ordered all schools to be closed until further notice would be
given. In an attempt to keep learners on course, the government, through the
ministry of education, enrolled Televised programs and radio lessons for
learners in various grades, including those who had started the
Competency-Based Curriculum program and those at the secondary level.
Being a teacher in the special needs department, doing my
analysis, very few learners in the special category would benefit from the
program. The learners with Visual Impairments, as their case suggests, can
hardly benefit from the programs on the television. For the radio program,
which may be effective to an extent, these learners require braille machines to
do their writing, but how many families with such learners can afford the
The audio programs are not effective in any way for the
learners with hearing impairments, and even the audiovisual program through
television, they need a sign language interpreter so that they can benefit.
Without an interpreter, the learning process is ineffective. Few of their
family members or caregivers know the Kenya Sign Language, which they use in
their learning. Most affected are learners who are mentally handicapped, and
they depend entirely on a modified curriculum since their mental function can
barely comprehend the regular curriculum.
Autistic learners and those with cerebral palsy are also
significantly disadvantaged since they also need a follow up in their daily
work and activities. During school days, their teachers and matrons are there to
ensure they perform effectively. Still, at their homes, it is not promising
that it would be done.
Since COVID-19 cases in our country are increasing exponentially, and more measures may be put in place to curb the further spread, a curriculum should be designed to take into consideration the learners. It would be difficult for the teachers to start on a fresh note when schools resume since the majority of these learners experiences memory problems when they take a long time without exposure to skills and concepts. They also need to benefit not as a favor but as a requirement by the law.
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