Inclusion of the Physically Disabled Students in Secondary Schools in Bondo District, Siaya County, Kenya
MASAKHWE, Phitalis Were
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Globally, the debate about inclusive education is on and the society is trying to find ways of meaningfully including the physically disabled students into the regular education system. Despite the fact that Bondo District has made remarkable achievements with regard to inclusion of the physically disabled students at primary school level, the degree of inclusion at secondary school level is unknown. The study therefore explored the degree of inclusion of physically disabled students in secondary schools in Bondo District. The objectives of the study were: to explore the degree of inclusion of physically disabled students in secondary schools in Bondo District, to establish the challenges facing the inclusion of the physically disabled students in secondary schools in Bondo District and to find out the effects of insufficient inclusion to the learning of the physically disabled students in Bondo District. The study was guided by social exclusion theory. The study design was exploratory. The target population comprised 30 principals, 30 deputy principals, 308 teachers, 10999 non-disabled students and 7,754 parents of physically disabled students within Bondo district, Siaya County.Purpossive sampling was used to obtain sample size of 15 principals, 15 deputy principals, 30 teachers, 30 disabled, 30 nondisabled and 30 parents of disabled students. The study used simple random sampling to select the schools. The quantitative data was collected by the use of semi-structured questionnaires while the qualitative data was collected using un-structured questionnaires and in-depth interviews. The test retest technique was used to ensure reliability of research instruments while validity was ensured through pilot test and reviews. Qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis. This involved going through the whole data collected, sentence by sentence, word by word, identifying recurring themes and coding them. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and results were presented in frequencies, tables and percentages. From the study, it emerged that a very small number of the physically disabled students who are eligible for secondary school are attending schoo!. Multiple challenges ranging from inaccessible environment, infrastructure and facilities, negative attitudes by fellow students and teachers and poor socio-economic backgrounds were responsible for this. The study established that being frequently absent from school, poor performance, low self-esteem are some of the effects of insufficient inclusion in schools. The study contributes to the body of knowledge on inclusive education of the physically disabled students in secondary schools in the country and general policy change with regard to inclusion.The study recommends the need for orientation of teachers in secondary schools on disability, the creation of enabling environment for all students and a flexible curriculum. There is need for further research on the phenomena where some physically disabled students excel despite the lack of inclusive environment in their schools in Bondo district.