Deprived of education, Africa’s young disabled students are at a disadvantage for life and often end up among the poorest of the poor. In Africa, many impoverished, disabled students drop out of school and pay the economic consequences for life. Simple changes in teaching procedures, coupled with new, locally produced teaching materials and refined school design can open the doors of education to all students regardless of physical disability.
However, a recent survey suggests that in the recent years an estimated of 2,00,000 ‘special’ children and adolescents has been rising at a fast rate in Africa due to the increasing penury, high population growth, armed conflict, AIDS and HIV, poor child labor practices and domestic violence. The African governments as well as international donors should make this a priority and even though for most white disabled children, the school gates are open but the same was not for the black disabled students.
According to a 2014 report by Uganda’s Ministry of Gender and Social Development, only 9% kids with disabilities of school age attend primary school, compared with a national average of 92 percent, and only 6 percent of these continue studying in secondary schools.
Why The School Gates Are Partly Closed For Such Special Students?
Why the rate of educated special children in Africa has not been elevated? Well one of the main reasons is that the teachers lack the expertise required to train and teach the disabled students and even if training was held, it was not held in the respective schools. Teachers leave their campuses, are given lectures by the experts and then return to their respective posts, maybe because after the training they will execute their new knowledge and skills in the classroom. The other reasons are as follows:
- Not sufficient space in the classrooms, especially where the students use wheelchairs.
- Inadequate number of teacher assistants, particularly to assist those students who are called as ‘special children.’
- Much difficulty for the teachers in giving special attention to those struggling students as they felt that their classrooms were fully occupied.
- Challenges of the school ambiance made it difficult and stressful for the teachers to believe that more workshops would solve this major problem. Instead what they did was that they suggested to take up learning support specialists to help in covering the fast- moving school’s curriculum to meet their students’ vast requirements.
School Instruction Is Also A Formidable Barrier
In many African countries, the student and teacher ratio is 50:1(very high). So, the teachers lecture from the head of the class and use a blackboard, no matter whether some students are having vision or hearing problems or physical problems in taking down class notes.
4 Ways In Imparting Education To These Disabled Students
- High quality well- delivered courses and workshops are required for the disabled student’s own learning as well as for an effective teacher’s professional development.
- A large-sized card carved with basic geometric shapes can help students who have vision problems to understand spatial relationships.
- Basic teacher training and workshops can be of help to them.
- A simple abacus, constructed out of poles set into a plywood box with rubber rings for counters, can bring basic math alive for students who cannot use a pen.
- School libraries should be easily accessible for reading books and borrowing books.
So what do you think about the issue of educating special students in Africa? Share your valuable insights with me.
Source – bit.ly/1KQNpEJ