FACTORS INFLUENCING GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING PROGRAMME IN THE INTEGRATION OF LEARNERS WITH VISUAL IMPAIREMENTS AND STRATEGIES FOR ITS ENHANCEMENT IN PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN TURKANA SOUTH SUB-COUNTY, TURKANA COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
With the introduction of free primary education (FPE) in Kenya, research evidence shows that there has been concern about the quality of instruction offered, due to the large class sizes. This has become more difficult for learners with disabilities. In order to address this challenge the government has encouraged the establishment of guidance and counseling services in schools among other roles to facilitate integration of children with visual impairments. However, there has been an outcry during the parents meetings and education days in Turkana South Sub County that learners with visual impairments have been performing poorly in academic work compared to their counterparts enrolled in the same institutions of learning; an indication that they may not be well integrated in the school system. Thus this study sought to establish factors influencing guidance and counseling programme in the integration of learners with visual impairments and strategies for its enhancement in public primary schools in Turkana South Sub-County, Turkana County, Kenya. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. The population consisted of 301 teachers. Out of the accessible population of 236 teachers, a sample of 59 was drawn. The accessible population was 236. Simple random sampling technique was used to select teachers involved. Questionnaires were used to collect data. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as means, frequencies and percentages. The study findings indicated that teachers offer guidance and counseling services to learners with visual impairments but with negative factors influencing integration. The study concluded that teachers offered guidance and counseling services to learners with visual impairments. Some of the factors that affect integration of learners with visual impairments included lack of finance, harsh environment and shortage of trained personnel on special needs. The study recommended that the administration of the schools should intensify guiding and counseling so that it can help the visually impaired learners as well as learners with other difficulties. The school administration should also modify the schools’ physical environment in order to foster integration and ensure that learning materials are available for visually impaired learners. The Ministry of Education should also make school environments conducive and train teachers to enhance integration of learners.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Visual impairements, also known as vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means such as glasses. Some also include those who have a decreased ability to see because they do not have access to glasses or contact lenses. Visual impairements is often defined as a best corrected visual acuity, of worse than either 20/40 or 20/60 (WHO, 2012). The basic concept of inclusion and integration states that principles of equity, discrimination, social justice and human rights make it compulsory that pupils with special needs and disabilities should enjoy the same privileges as all other pupils in a public primary school environment and to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum (Jeffs, Behrmann & Bannan-Ritland, 2006). It is believed that integration in the mainstream school enables pupils with disabilities to benefit from the stimulation of mixing with relatively more able pupils and having the opportunity to observe higher models of social and academic behavior.

Education provisions for blind and visually handicapped children, the administration of these educational provisions and teacher preparations, all moved from special or separated arrangements to integrated ones. This move has been consistently spearheaded and supported by legislation (Lowenfeld, 1981). It was Lowenfeld’s belief that the American creed has resulted in educational integration for the blind and visually handicapped and visually impaired students.

Euro Blind and visually handicapped Organization reported that in Ireland, the Act acknowledges that pupils with special educational needs have the same right to education as their peers. The legislation aims to ensure that children with special educational needs will leave school with the skills necessary to participate in society and to live independent lives. In United Kingdom, changes were made to the previous code that introduced a stronger right for children with special needs education to be educated at a mainstream school (Roger, 2002).

Euro Blind Organization showed that in Germany, the main form of provision of equal access to education by the blind and visually handicapped is in special schools but programmes have been introduced to encourage the integration of pupils and pupils with special needs into mainstream education (Okasha, 2002). In Norway, pupils with special educational needs are generally integrated into mainstream early childhood education and schooling with provision for extra help in class where required. In Netherlands, since the year 2001, education policies have been geared to integrating children with special needs in mainstream primary schools, under the motto “Going to school together”. The aim of this policy is to enable pupils with special needs to attend mainstream primary schools (Lufi, Okasha & Cohen, 2004).

Independent Living Institute in South Africa reported that personal assistance services had influenced people with disabilities to direct their own lives and to exercise their rights to choice and dignity within their own homes (Lufi, Okasha, & Cohen, 2004). The 2006 Children’s Statute in Uganda provides for equal opportunities to education for leaners with disabilities. Special programmes for children with disabilities were initiated, without a corollary effort to introduce into educational curricula for non-disabled children contents that would tackle and strive to eliminate the inherited stigmatization. The planned inclusive schooling and teacher training aimed at their adaptation to diverse-ability learners will hopefully contribute to reducing such stigmatization (Hegarty & Alur, 2002).

Gabbert (2012) argued that visually impaired pupils should be placed in the best possible learning environment and support should be put in place for them to learn. Gabbert also added that many children with visual impairements have significant problems adapting socially in the public primary classroom. The children may not easily accept a blind and visually handicapped or low vision child without some direct support from teachers.

The increased urbanization of the society has slowly resulted in the growth of integrated schools taking care of the both the normally and the physically impaired learners and a need for an organized support system to meet the needs traditionally met through the special schools (Okasha, 2002). Thus schools have become important centers to provide guidance to students (Gabbert, 2012). The study was therefore done in Turkana since most pupils in schools lack proper guidance and counseling and have blinding trachoma.

Statement of the Problem
With the introduction of free primary education (FPE) in Kenya, research evidence shows that there has been concern with quality of instruction offered due to the large class sizes.

This has become more difficult for learners with visual impairements. In order to ensure to address this challenge the government has encouraged the establishment of the guidance and counseling services in schools among other roles to assist in integration of children with visual impairements. However, there has been an outcry during the parents meetings and education days in Turkana South Sub County that learners with visual impairements have been performing poorly in academic work as compared to their counterparts enrolled in the same institutions of learning; an indication that they may not be well integrated in the school system. This raises the concern as to whether guidance and counseling programme has played its role in influencing the integration of learners with visual impairements in public primary schools. It was on this breadth that the study sought to establish the factors influencing guidance and counseling programme in the integration of learners with visual impairments and strategies for its enhancement in public primary schools in Turkana South sub-county, Turkana County, Kenya.

Purpose of the Study.
The purpose of the study was to establish factors influencing guidance and counseling programme in the integration of learners with visual impairments and strategies for its enhancement in public primary schools in Turkana South sub-county, Turkana County, Kenya.

Objectives of the Study
i. To establish the extent of use of guidance and counseling programme in integration of learners with visual impairments in public primary schools in Turkana South Sub County, Turkana County, Kenya.

ii. To determine factors influencing guidance and counseling programme in the integration of learners with visual impairments in public primary schools in Turkana South Sub County, Turkana County Kenya.

iii. To identify the strategies for enhancing integration of learners with visual impairments in public primary schools in Turkana South Sub County, Turkana County, Kenya.

Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

i. What is the extent of use of guidance and counseling programme in the integration of learners with visual impairments in public primary schools in Turkana South Sub County, Turkana County, Kenya?

ii. What are the factors influencing guidance and counseling programme in the integration of learners with visual impairments in public primary schools in Turkana South Sub County, Turkana County Kenya Sub County, Turkana County, Kenya?

iii. What are the strategies for enhancing integration of learners with visual impairments in public primary schools in Turkana South Sub County, Turkana County, Kenya?

Significance of the Study
The findings of this study are useful to stakeholders such as Kenya Union for the Blind (KUB), Kenya Society for the Blind (KSB) and Kenya Institute of the Blind (KIB) (to strongly support guidance and counseling on the integration of learners with visual impairments).

The study shall be of benefit to pupils since it narrows down the gap between the sighted learners and visually impaired learners. Class teachers became sensitized on factors that influence integration of learners with visual impairments. The parents of the visually impaired children were to find the study to be useful since they may no longer take children to special schools and later incur expenses.

The study was of significance to the future scholars since it will form a body of literature that other scholars who are interested in looking at the same area or related studies can refer to. It was also meant to provide further guidelines in the areas that they can look at through the suggestion for further studies.

Scope of the Study
This study was carried out in public primary schools in Turkana South Sub County, Turkana County, Kenya. The study was conducted between the months of July 2013 to September 2013 and sought to investigate on the influence of guidance and counseling programme in integration of learners with visual impairments in public primary schools in Turkana South Sub County, Turkana County, Kenya.

Assumptions of the Study
The study was based on the following assumptions:

i. That all the respondents were cooperative and honest to provide reliable information.

ii. That the information given by the respondents was accurate.

Limitations of the Study
The study was limited by the fact that guidance and counseling in some schools was not well established. Guidance and counseling in such schools was not considered important and therefore such schools were excluded from the study. Some of the participants were uncooperative in providing the information for the study. This was overcomed by the assistance of the head teachers.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 61 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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