Children with Disabilities Should be presented at Educational Assessment Research Centers for Screening - Govt

The Kenyan government has urged parents and guardians with children living with disabilities to present the children for screening at the Educational Assessment Research Centers (EARCs) distributed across the country.

Keziah Muthara, a Principal Education Officer said the Ministry of Education has established the centres to equalize education opportunities for children with special needs and facilitate their full integration into the school system and their community.

She said experts at the EARC help identify the nature and severity of the disability that a child might be having and recommend placement in an appropriate educational institution depending on the child’s special educational needs.

Muthara spoke when she addressed education stakeholders during Secondary Education Quality Improvement (SEQIP) social assessment exercise aimed at establishing the social economic and cultural constraints that affect children access to education and transition to secondary education in Marginalized and vulnerable communities.

The officer said the project aims at improving quality education in public secondary schools as well as improving transition rates from primary to secondary in 110 Sub Counties in 30 Counties mainly in Arid and Semin Arid areas and area that have suffered from marginalization.

“The SEQIP seeks to provide equal educational opportunities to every learner including children living with disabilities of one kind or another in the targeted areas,” she said.

According to Muthara, the main objective of EARC is to equalize education opportunities for children with special needs and facilitate their full integration into the school system and their community.

“They can only get these opportunities if they are presented to EARCs and have their disabilities assessed.”

She added that the government has schools that have stabilized Special Schools, integrated Schools & Special Units and regular schools which carters for the Special Education Needs of Children living with disabilities at different levels of severities.

Assessors at Educational Assessment Research Centres determine a child's specific learning strengths and needs, and to determine whether or not a child is eligible for special education services.

According to the Ministry of Education, the Educational Assessment Research Centres are found in most County Headquarters and at the Kenya Institute for Special education.

Government data indicates that as of 2019, there are at least 3,430 special needs education teaching primary education institutions and 114 special needs education institutions teaching secondary education.

Magaret Njuguna