By Isaac Akugizibwe
0n Tuesday 13th December 2022, Kampala International University through the College of Education and Distance Learning organized an exciting and informative workshop on Special Needs Education in Uganda.
The blended physical and online workshop that aimed at disseminating knowledge amongst the students' community took place in the Iddi Basajjabalaba Memorial Library (IBML) Senate Boardroom and was presided over by Ms. Naomi Stocker from the Department of Education University of Ghent, Belgium.
In her study, Naomi Visited five primary schools and talked to head teachers, teachers, students with special needs and students without special needs between October and November 2022.
After her study in Uganda, she Went on fieldwork at Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya to research about inclusive education and the needs for children with special needs in the camp early in December 2022.
She discovered that whereas some schools are already practicing inclusive education in Uganda, it is yet to be embraced on a wide scale nationwide. According to her research findings, lack of enough training for the teachers, behavioral issues of some students, lack of enough funds, stigma among other challenges are retarding inclusive education in Uganda.
“We need more sensitization in the country. Many think these children will never do anything. We need more awareness. “she highlighted in her presentation.
School fees are too high: “A girl in P1 missed school for a year because the mother could not pay the fees. “her report further notes.
“Lack of support for the teachers in the classroom: “Here you find yourself alone sometimes.” “You should be able to take a break, but it is difficult because you are alone in the class. Even on the weekends, they need help so you can’t take a break.” A respondent told Naomi stocker.
“Students need one-on-one time with teachers to learn better, but you can’t get enough one-on-one time with all the students.” She added.
Naomi also came up with different ways that can be implemented to promote inclusive education in Uganda. Among them is raising awareness and encouraging parent-teacher engagements.
“When you work with parents and support them, then at times they surprise you. “she noted in her report.
Naomi’s report recommends that more focus be put on children with disabilities, more training for teachers, teaching people according to their abilities and the addition of extra teachers in class among others.
Her presentation was attended by top University administrators led by vice chancellor Prof.Mouhammad Mpezamihigo and top professors from the College of Education and distance learning.
In his remarks, Prof.Mpezamihigo thanked Naomi for embracing Uganda and expressed gratitude towards the schools that hosted her.
“I want to thank on her behalf, the schools that accommodated her, “he said.
He added that being a parent to a child with special needs, Naomi’s presentation has attracted his attention. He said that KIU is open to such projects that aim at finding solutions to society’s most pressing problems.
The rest of the audience concurred with her findings, conclusions, and recommendations and they promised to embark on the subject matter as the KIU college of education and distance learning.