Players hail CBC for meeting needs of persons with disabilities

By , People Daily Digital
Monday, January 3rd, 2022 00:00 | 3 mins read
Education CS George Magoha witnesses CBC assessment tests at Joytown School for the Physically Disabled in Thika recently. Photo/COURTESY

Persons with Disabilities (PWD) have described the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) as progressive, saying it is a reform in the right direction from the ever-competitive system.

Christian Blind Mission (CBM) Global, Kenya Country Representative, Edwin Osundwa says that CBC is good because it not only stops or limits competition for grades, but also emphasises on nurturing potential, which is key for all learners.

He also said that CBC will change the language of PWD since the old education system has to some extent been discriminatory and unsatisfactory in quite a number of areas.

“Many parents of children with disabilities I have interacted with think CBC is a good thing because it stops competition for grades and emphasises tapping individual potential,” said Osundwa.

“Special Needs Education has as its pillar; the critical issue of nurturing the learners’ potential.

We do not care whether that potential can at least move from say a child not being able to count to getting some numeracy skill.

The learners should just be able do something simple out of training,” he added.

Statistics indicate that at least 10 per cent of Kenya’s population has disabilities while the poverty rate of PWDs is at about 40 per cent.

He said the country is gradually making gains in the education system, for instance, the government has invested in teacher training, infrastructure and curriculum to cater for varied needs of each learner, including learners with disabilities.

Osundwa also said that education is an instrument of change, which should ensure that after transiting from school, all people, including those with disabilities, have a role to play in the society to apply the skills.

He said the society must be prepared to admit PWD so that they can also apply their skills gained over the years, especially in school.

“If you look at the CBC reforms, one key pillar is need to nurture every learner’s potential.

That means that all learners have potential, which has to be tapped into and nurtured by the education system, so that is a good philosophy,” he added.

He also called for the need to prepare PWD to transit from the formal education system to the world of work saying there is still a big gap.

“There is still a big gap in preparing the PWD to transit from the formal education system to the world of work, because policies and environment they need to practice still have barriers.

Employers are saying they want skilled people, but do not adjust the environment sometimes to accommodate PWD to apply their skills,” he explained.

“That is the sad scenario around education, but CBC is a good focus, because it aims at nurturing the potential of all learners and does not seem to compare only the academic side learners,” he added.

According to the taskforce report on curriculum reforms implementation, Special Needs Education (SNE) is an integral part of CBC, especially in view of the mission of nurturing every learner’s potential, including the gifted and talented.

The taskforce acknowledged that the SNE sub-sector has experienced growth over the years, but there are still gaps that need to be addressed for effective implementation of the CBC reforms.

They, include weak functional assessments, dearth of accurate data on SNE learners nationally, poor transition from primary to secondary school, especially for the deaf and lack of effective programmes for the gifted and talented learners.

To this end, the taskforce recommends that the Ministry of Education enhances the capacity of the National Psycho Education, assessment, research centre at the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE).

This will be expected to come in handy in assessing all areas of special needs while also acting as the national coordination centre for assessment conducted at Educational Assessment and Resource Centres (EARCs) in the country. 

On assessment, the CBC taskforce report says that it will be determined by nature and severity of the disability and special needs.

“For learners with ability to follow the regular curriculum, KNEC will adapt the assessment items while also providing appropriate time during assessment administration for learners with disabilities,” says the report.

For those not able to follow regular curriculum, KNEC will develop a policy for various types of assessments that document the stage-based abilities and fasttracking competencies.

In November last year, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha called for the establishment of a data centre for learners with special needs.

The CS said there have been challenges obtaining data for special needs and disability in the country, yet it is critical for planning and resource allocation.

Magoha has since urged Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) to ensure the envisaged special needs data centre for the country is established.

“I am aware that there are challenges in regard to special needs and disability data in this country.

The Ministry will support the establishment of a data centre to enhance availability of accurate and reliable data critical for planning and resource allocation,” said the CS.

He said KISE is running the EARC, used as a reference point by field officers and interested partners.

“The centre offers assessment and therapy services to children, and revolutionalise assessment of children with special needs and disabilities and promote inclusive education practices,” he explained in ending.