PARTICIPATION OF MENTALLY RETARDED CHILDREN IN LOWER PRIMARY EDUCATION IN MURANG’A EAST SUB- COUNTY, MURANG’A COUNTY

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The study sought to find out the factors influencing the participation of
mentally retarded children in lower primary schools in Murang’a East Sub-county,
Murang’a County. The objectives that guided the study were distance, policy
framework, school environment and parental economical status. The target population
for the study was the parents with mentally retarded children, teachers handling the
MR children and MR children aged below 12 years. The respondents were 350 in
number. The purposive sampling method was used to pick the sample across all the
categories. The sample size for the study was 43.6% of the population. Seventy seven
parents, ten special unit’s teachers and forty five MR children The study employed the
descriptive survey design. Data was collected by use of questionnaires. The study had
three sets of questionnaires administered to each of the categories. The descriptive
statistics and inferential statistics were the medium for data analysis which was
thereafter presented by use of statistical means. The results were subjected to
statistical tests which entailed chi-square tests.  The study found out that most MR
children went to school by foot. The distance from their homes to the schools was not
an inhibiting factor to their ability to attend school. Most of the MR children were
accompanied to school by their parents and caregivers. All the teachers handling the
MR children in the special units were employed by the government. The enrollment
of MR children in special education units was confirmed to be 0-5 children annually.
Materials for use by the schools were confirmed to  have been provided for by the
government. The curriculum was given an approval rating by most of the teachers
owing to its capacity to support proper growth of children. The teachers considered
the parents with MR children as cooperative. They also confirmed that the schools
provided MR children with food and had put in place recreational facilities to ensure
that the school environments were supportive of MR children. Some however were of
the view that the schools were too large making it difficult for the teachers to give
children enough attention. The social-economic livelihoods of parents were confirmed
to be depressed and an undoing to the realization of progress by the parents with MR
children. The study recommended that communities should invest in more special
units to cater for the MR children. This will ensure that there is adequate provision of
facilities for their sake. It will go a long way in reducing the distance covered by the
MR children in the wake of accessing the schools from where they undertake
programmes. The government should invest in the training and equipping of more
teachers to handle the MR children. This will ensure the presence of adequate
manpower always at hand to handle the MR children effectively without the risk of
failure. Investment in continuous upgrade of the curriculum used by the special
education centers should be done. Provisions should be made for investment in
recreational facilities by the respective schools handling MR children. This will
certainly go a long way in making the environments favorable and amiable to the MR
children. The schools should also institute programmes incorporating parents and
members of households with MR children with a view of training them on awareness
and how best to handle the children. Shoring up the economic mainstays of the
parents with MR children should equally be done to  better the livelihoods of the
children and encourage their participation in school.

Author: 
Esther Karimi Ruuri
Unit: 
COMMTECH

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