KIGALI - Children born with disabilities like visual and hearing impairments are still facing problems in their quest for education due to the limited number of qualified teachers.
Education of children with special needs has in the past been offered by special schools run by charitable organizations with the government providing support in terms of resources and teachers’ salaries.
However, in line with the Millennium Development Goals, to attain education for all by 2015, the government resolved to prioritize education of these children to ensure that they are not left behind.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the official in charge of special education in the Ministry of Education, Mary Kobusingye, said that though the government is doing everything it can, there is still a very big deficit of these teachers.
“The Ministry has facilitated training teachers in special needs around the country with help from Handicap International and ADRA Rwanda, but the numbers are still few,” said Kobusingye.
According to her, offering special education requires people with this interest as it calls for patience and understanding to be able to deal with such children.
“We train the teachers, but if they don’t have this particular interest, they will still not measure up, and it becomes a bit difficult since we cannot force them to do it,” she said.
She, however, said that some strides have been made since the introduction of the special education department in the ministry in 1997 and that a good number of teachers have attained certificates in the field.
“Since the department was established, a lot has been done, and we now have some of these children being able to make it up to university.”
In an interview, the Vice Rector for Academics at the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE) Dr James Vuningoma, said that the institute is currently training some students in that field and that plans are in the pipeline to introduce a specific special needs training programme.