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Special Needs Education Fails Test in Nakasongola

Learners with special needs require specialized support services like sign language interpreters, braille transcribers and technology in classroom instruction and delivery of educational programmes.

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Lack of specialized teachers and instructional materials for children with visual and hearing impairment threatens the success of the program in Nakasongola district.

Learners with special needs require specialized support services like sign language interpreters, braille transcribers and technology in classroom instruction and delivery of educational programmes.

But the district does not have specialized teachers and instructional materials to adequately address the learning needs of children in this category, Sam Mbangire, the acting Nakasongola District Education Officer says.

He says that with a population of 1200 impaired learners, the district has only four teachers with capacity to deal with special needs children. The four, he adds, are all head teachers who have limited time to interact with pupils in their respective classes.

Mbangire suggests that government identifies and equips at least one school in the district to offer education to pupils with impairments.

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Special Needs Education was introduced in Nakasongola 16-years ago under a programme funded by the Danish International Development Agency-DANIDA. It sought to address the learning challenges for pupils with different categories of impairment.

Under the programme, DANIDA facilitated sensitization campaigns and an office to coordinate activities related to the provision of Special Needs Education.  This also involved monitoring progress of the impaired children from within the communities.

However, Nakasongola Roman Catholic Primary School, which had been promoted as a model school for pupils with disabilities, also failed to operate the programme for lack of specialized teachers and instructional materials.

Francis Makka, the head teacher of Kabale Roman Catholic Primary School says that they have stopped recruiting pupils with impairments due to lack of resources. He adds that parents with Special Needs Children have been advised to try nearby districts with better facilities.

Samson Mwanje, a parent faults the Ministry of Education for denying such children a right to education. He says several children are rotting in the villages due to expenses involved in raising children with special needs.

Shammah High School, the only secondary school that offered special education in Luweero district also suspended the programme in 2012 after the ministry of Education failed to pay the only two teachers with skills to deal with special needs children.  

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