The newly proposed curriculum has left no room for excuses for parents and guardians who will not ensure their children with special needs access education. The curriculum has shone a ray of hope on such children with disabilities by proposing three pathways of special needs that will ensure none of them fails to access education. And just like their counterparts who will go through the mainstream curriculum of 2-6-3-3-3 that seeks to replace 8-4-4, the special needs curriculum will also be skills oriented.
The three pathways will see the children end up either in a special needs school, special unit, regular school or a home based programme for those with profound disabilities which may have rendered them immobile or put them under 24 hour surveillance and care. And once they have been absorbed in any of the above categories, they will be further subjected to another four stage programme that will equip them with the requisite skills to be independent by exploiting their talents. These are the foundation level-which is the most basic, intermediate level, pre-vocational level and vocational level.
At intermediate level, here learners will focus on the same learning outcomes as in foundation but at a higher level. “And those with special talents in specific areas may require a syllabus that is geared towards nurturing and developing their talents,” reads the curriculum framework in part. It is then when the learners will proceed to the pre-vocational level to prepare them to use work oriented skills and give them opportunities to identify their talents, abilities and interests. Learning in this category will include in field such as cookery, animal husbandry, weaving, hairdressing and beauty therapy, carpentry, metal work, building and construction as well as farming. And once the learners’ ability has been identified, they will be placed at a specific field at vocational level. At this stage, all learners will also participate in community service.
“The best thing of this curriculum is that it eliminates exams. Initially some of the special children were subjected to the mainstream national exams done by their ‘normal’ counterparts. But this focuses on skills and talents,” said Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers Secretary General James Torome. those learners who are gifted and talented will undergo an ‘enriched curriculum’ while those with profound disabilities will go through home based intervention programme. in the new curriculum, the visually impaired, hearing impaired, physically handicapped, and mild cerebral palsy will be taken through a regular curriculum fused with adaptations and intervention programmes. Those with communication disorders, emotional and behavioural disorders, learning disabilities, and moderate and severe cerebral palsy will be put through Regular Curriculum with intervention programmes.