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Disability and Accessible Education in Kenya

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By Sarah Mwikali

A Report by the Kenya National Survey for persons with disabilities in 2008 revealed that: In general, more females (52%) than males (49%) aged 15 and above have disabilities. But at age 14 and below, there are more males (55%) than females (46%) with disabilities. 67% of Pwds attained a primary level of education but only a small proportion attained secondary level (19%). Very few reached university (2%). Only 2% of those with primary level education and 0.4% with secondary level attended special schools. Special school attendance is high in Nairobi, Coast and Nyanza. A big proportion of the PWDs who had attained primary level of education were residing in the rural areas (72%) compared with those in urban (49%). 7% of PWDs reported having been denied enrolment in school because of their disability. Western Province had the highest proportion (9%) of PWDs who were denied entry; Nairobi Province had the lowest (4%). 39% of PWDs (People With Disabilities) dropped out of school because of lack of money. PWDs in Central, Rift Valley and Western provinces had the highest school dropout rates (44%, 45% and 49%, respectively) owing to lack of money.6% of PWDs dropped out of school because of their disabilities, 9% because of illness and 9% because of lack of interest.

This figures are really alarming and very quick measures must be taken to solve this crisis. Before i continue let us see what are the challenges for persons with disabilities in accessing education:

  • Neglect from their own parents and guardians
  • Emergence from poor backgrounds
  • Lack of access to assistive devices
  • Stigma&fear from their fellow peers&teachers
  • Abandonment.

Therefore, for us to ensure the millennium development goal 2 is achieved then the following MUST be done:

  1. There is need to integrate and mainstream issues affecting PWDs in all national policies and programmes.
  2. Programmes should be designed to accommodate age, gender and place of residence.
  3. There is need to create awareness among the various communities to reduce stigma and social discrimination. This should enable disabled persons to participate fully in decision making at household and community levels.
  4. Develop special programmes in health facilities to target all the PWDS, together with packaged information services for the PWDs.
  5. Need to develop programmes that support families caring for PWDs, e.g., tax rebate on equipments and services, drugs and many others.
  6. Develop policies that target infrastructure to be disability friendly to PWDs.
  7. Take particular care to consider and address gender issues, which compound the suffering of women and girls and render them among the most vulnerable members of society.

For a nation to accommodate such needs, first it should be stable in that there must be national security and peace. Instability brings about economic challenges, thus as Malala stated in her speech: We call upon the world leaders to change their strategic policies in favor of peace and prosperity.We call upon all governments to ensure free compulsory education for every child all over the world.We call upon all governments to fight against terrorism and violence, to protect children from brutality and harm.We call upon the developed nations to support the expansion of educational opportunities for girls in the developing world.

In this case, I call upon my Kenyan government and other governments across Africa to ensure peace and security in our country because every time there is chaos the most affected persons are persons with disabilities, they are vulnerable, they are physically weak, but not mentally so.

IT IS TIME TO ACT

EDUCATION=PEACE=STABILITY= INCLUSIVENESS =DEVELOPMENT

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