Special Needs Education well catered for in the new curriculum

Special Needs Education well catered for in the new curriculum

Curriculum designs for Grade 4 are being adapted to the needs of learners with special needs,
ahead of roll out of the new curriculum in two months’ time.
The designs referred to as syllabus under the 8-4-4 system of education will guide teachers and
publishers when preparing lessons and textbooks for the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC).
The new curriculum is being piloted nationally in Pre-primary 1 and 2 and Grade 1 and 2. The
pilot also stretches to some selected schools in Grade three.
Adaptation of the designs, spearheaded by curriculum experts drawn from various institutions
that cater for various types of disability, is a deliberate measure to ensure learners' needs are well
accommodated, according to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum development (KICD).
“This process has brought on board curriculum implementors who themselves are persons with
disabilities. They believe, nothing for us without us," KICD director, Dr Julius Jwan said in
Nairobi.
Dr Jwan said learners with special needs are no lesser beings and their right to education cannot
be relegated to the periphery in the guise that they are less productive.
“There is no reason why they should be disadvantaged yet the constitution is clear that
discrimination should not be our cup of tea. That is why they must own the process,” Dr Jwan
said.
Teaching and learning materials developed for regular learners will have to be friendly to those
with special needs who include the hearing impaired, visually impaired, those with physical
impairment as well as learners with intellectual difficulties.
This group of learners has remained a disadvantaged lot over the years because they have been
sitting the same national examinations under a curriculum that does not cater for their
shortcomings.
This curriculum seeks to address such inadequacies that have left parents with children with
disabilities feeling neglected, besides, the current education system failing to recognize and
nurture their talents and interests.
Some parents hide their children in homes denying them the right to free and compulsory
primary and subsidized secondary education, due to fears that the children cannot compete with
the rest of the learners.
Dr Jwan said the competency based curriculum provides an opportunity for learners with special
needs to excel in their areas of ability, and interest, without feeling neglected.
“The 8-4-4 curriculum places all learners in one basket of academia. It doesn’t emphasize on
identifying and nurturing talents. The proposed curriculum is out to fix this,” Dr Jwan said.
The curriculum developers who have been at KICD for the past one week, denied claims that
foreigners took a leading role in formulation of the ambitious education reforms saying Kenyans
have been the ones driving the process.
“This has been a real participatory process by Kenyans for the Kenyans. A needs assessment was
carried out and Kenyans are still enriching the curriculum reform process,” said Ms Beth
Kahuthia who is in-charge of Special Needs Education at KICD.
Under the new curriculum, children with severe disabilities who find it difficult to attend schools
will be reached through home based programmes, to benefit from education.
“Home based intervention programmes have been developed to cater for them. Some of the
special schools are far from some homes," Ms Kahuthia explained.

She added, "Educational Assessment and Resource Centre officers must be able to support such
children at home.

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