Course books for grade five learners are being adapted to suit the needs of learners with special needs, Senior Deputy Director in charge of Curriculum Development Jacqueline Onyango has said.
The adaptation follows successful development and approval of the curriculum support materials that will be used in schools as from July when the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) moves to grade five.
The rationale for adopting the books is to meet the diverse needs of various categories of learners with special needs so that they can also enjoy learning and access quality education, like their counterparts without disabilities.
The adaptation process is led by subject secretaries who are mainly curriculum developers from the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and whose role is to guide a team of panels in checking what needs to be adjusted in the textbooks that have been approved for regular learners.
The subject areas that each panel is dealing with include; Maths, English, Kiswahili, Science and Technology, Home science, Agriculture, Social studies, Physical and Health Education, Art and Craft, Music, Braille and the Kenyan Sign language.
The learners that are set to benefit from the curriculum support materials include those with hearing, visual and physical impairment.
The adaptation of the course materials is being spearheaded by curriculum experts drawn from the Ministry of Education, KICD, Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) and teachers from special needs education schools.
“This exercise has also brought on board curriculum implementers who are persons with disabilities. They believe nothing for us without us,” said Onyango.
She further argued that the right to education for learners with special needs cannot be relegated to the periphery in the guise that additional resources are needed to accommodate their needs.
“The constitution recognizes and places all learners at the centre of education and there is no reason to disadvantage others on the basis of how they were born. They deserve quality education as the rest,” she explained.
Isaiah Kuyo, a teacher from Kumbi Primary School in Tana River County who is participating in the visual impairment panel handling Music said including people living with disabilities in the activity would guarantee quality.
“Only the wearer knows where the shoes pinches. So we are the right people to recommend the modifications that need to be done on the books,” Kuyo who is suffering from visual impairment, said.
KICD has expressed optimism that the adapted books will be ready before the re-opening of schools so that both the regular learners and those under special needs education, benefit.
“We want course materials for all learners including those with special needs. We shall deliver the books in good time so that no learner feels left out,” Mrs Onyango said.
The panels working on the materials for learners with disabilities must be guided by the adapted grade five curriculum designs, to remain relevant with curriculum requirements.
“It is all about the child and what they are able to do. Otherwise, the adaptation will be null and void if you don’t think about the learner’s potential and capabilities,” said Grace Ngugi Maina, the Deputy Director, Special programmes at KICD.
The CBC besides emphasizing what a learner can do, also focuses on values and the invaluable role parents play in a child’s educational life.
The curriculum provides an opportunity for learners with special needs to excel in their areas of ability, and interest, without feeling neglected.
Parents with children living with disabilities are being encouraged to ensure they access education to be well placed to compete for emerging opportunities without feeling disadvantaged.
There are concerns that 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.