Kinene a pupil says that because there is one teacher at the school, the deaf sit in classes with normal colleagues but they end up grasping nothing due to lack of interpreter and at the end of the term they are always the worst performers.
Primary schools in Luweero district offering special needs education are grappling with impaired pupils because of an acute shortage of special needs teachers. They include Lukomera, Nsawo, Balitalwogi, Luweero Boys, Bembe Hill, Kalasa Mixed, Katikamu and Luteete primary school. The schools have between 30 and 100 impaired children. But the impaired pupils, who are spread over in various classes, are mixed with other pupils.
Ivan Kinene, a representative of pupils with disabilities at Lukomera primary school prefect body says that they have only one special needs teacher at her school. She says the same teacher handles all the 36 pupils from primary one to primary sign, which is so taxing. Kinene says that deaf pupils sit in the classes with their normal colleagues and end up grasping nothing during lessons because of the lack of a sign language specialist.
She says that as a result, disabled pupils are the worst performing in her school. Anent Namubiru, a pupil of Kalasa mixed primary school says that many handicapped children have dropped out of school over poor performance and lack of attention by teachers.
Another pupil at Luweero boy’s primary school, who preferred anonymity, told URN that there are more than 80 pupils with disabilities in his school with only three teachers to attend to them. He explains that the teachers rotate from one class to another to help interpreter for the pupils, but sometimes they don’t show up.
Sarah Kalungi, the only special needs teacher at Lukomera primary agrees with the concerns of the pupils, saying that she has decided to concentrate on lower classes. Kalungi says that in addition to under staffing they also lack teaching aids, which makes her work difficult.
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The district councilor for people with disabilities Deborah Nalubega says that the situation has been worsened by the suspension of the special needs education program at one of the secondary schools because of the failure by the education ministry to pay salaries for at least two teachers.
Nalubega says that even if pupils in the district succeed in primary school, they have nowhere to continue their studies. She says the ratio of the teacher to pupil is supposed to be one to ten but in Luweero the ratio is one to more than 30 leaving majority unattended too.
The pupils and parents have asked the minister for Education and Sports Jessica Alupo to intervene and order the district to recruit at least four special needs teachers in each school. The District Special Need Education Coordinator Mary Kyomugisha confirmed the pupils’ plight saying that they have started engaging all teachers in special needs Education to cover the gap.
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In 1999, the Ministry of Education and Sports established a Special Needs department to coordinate the teaching of children with physical impairments. However, the program appears to be hitting a snag because of lack of teachers and poor facilitation in Luweero.
special needs education
ministry of education and sports
pupils and teachers
pupils with disabilities