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©VSO/Martijn Roos

VSO publishes landmark survey of child special educational needs in Kenya

VSO has published results of a national survey of disability and special educational needs among children and young people in Kenya - the first of its kind ever conducted in the country.

The report unveiled in Nairobi today presents findings of the Kenya National Special Needs Education Survey. This was commissioned by VSO in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) in January 2014 and is the first of its kind to be conducted in Kenya.

The main objective of the survey was to establish the prevalence of disabilities and special education needs (SEN) among in-school and out-of-school children and youth up to 21 years of age. It also was intended to determine the relevance and adequacy of education structure, learning facilities and resources supporting children with special needs in Kenya.

Download a PDF of the report:  [2MB]

Results and recommendations include:

Kenya National Special Needs Education Survey Report
  • There is a high prevalence (13.5%) of disability among children and young people in Kenya
  • Around one in three (31%) of children living with a disability has multiple disabilities
  • The majority of out-of-school children in Kenya have a disability, with 16% of all children and young people with disability being out of education
  • Public schools do not have the resources to adaquately meet the needs of children living with a disability or special educational needs
  • There is a need to deploy more teachers with specialised training to provide education to children with multiple special educational needs - currently only 1% of SEN teachers have received specialised training in catering to multiple special educational needs
  • Perceptions of children and young people with disabilities was mixed, with some persistent stigmas and discrimination identified against them in school communities

The sample included 8,400 households and 420 schools across 47 counties.

"The National Special Needs Education Survey contains recommendations that could improve the situation of children with special needs, thereby helping improve equity in access to education in Kenya. Ensuring that inclusive education becomes a reality in Kenya will not only uphold the rights of children with special needs, it will also improve the participation of people with special needs in our country's development."

Dr Belio R Kipsang, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology

VSO is expecting to use this report to influence community attitudes towards children with disabilities, and improve the relevance and quality of their education.

Kenya's Special Needs Education Policy is is currently being revised. VSO Kenya is sitting on the technical committee for the policy review, and will work to ensure that plans for the inclusion of children with disabilities in Kenya are based on the findings of this groundbreaking study and its recommendations.

Find out about our work in Kenya