Influence of Learning Environment on Inclusion of Visually Impaired Learners in Public Primary Schools in Bungoma South Sub County
Learners with visual impairment (VI) are a heterogeneous group with varied nature of difficulties that require adequate attention in curriculum implementation in order to achieve good academic performance when placed in regular or main stream institutions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of school physical and social environment on inclusion of visually impaired learners, in Bungoma South Sub County, Kenya. The study was anchored on Vygotsky theory of social-cultural learning. The study adopted cross-sectional research design. The study targeted 97 head teachers and 97 senior teachers from 97 public primary schools. Through simple random sampling, 78 senior teachers and 27 head teachers were selected to take part in the study. The head teachers’ interview schedule and senior teachers’ questionnaire were employed to collect data. Piloting involved three public primary schools in the neighbouring Bungoma East Sub County. Content and construct validity of the data collection instruments was ascertained by two university supervisors’ scrutiny while reliability was estimated by computing chronbach’s alpha coefficient. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. Descriptive statistics included frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviations and graphs while multiple regression analysis to test the formulated three null hypotheses. Both quantitative and qualitative data from interview schedules were analyzed concurrently and as per the objective, the study found that most of the schools lacked internal policy on how to relate and support VI learners. Despite long teaching experience, most teachers knew very little about the braille alphabet a key tool in VI learners’ education. The study concluded teachers’ lack of skills and knowledge on how to apply VI learners’ assistive technology was the major hindrance to effective inclusion of VI learners in regular schools. The study recommended that the teachers training curriculum should be revised to include the key special education units targeting all teachers regardless of their speciality.