Special Needs Education Fails Test in Nakasongola

1689 Views Nakasongola, Uganda

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

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.  

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.