Special Needs Education (SNE) is the education system which cares/caters for the needs of a child that may not be met by the usual provision in a class. These situations may be a result of the following:-
• Social emotional neglect
• Traumatic experiences e.g. wars, accidents etc
• Impairment or disability
• Economic conditions
• Any other condition that make it difficult for a person to follow the regular curriculum.
These conditions create barriers for the learners to exploit the learning environment fully.
SNE aims at removing such barriers and all issues that affect a child who is educationally disadvantaged. Secondly, there has been a tendency in Uganda to concentrate on learners with disability. This bracket is gradually opening up to accommodate other learners with barriers to learning.
Instructional Materials/equipment, for persons with disability are not readily available. In some cases, they are only produced outside the country. This has posed a challenge that has left government with few options. One of them is to procure centrally and distribute them directly to the beneficiary schools or seek the interventions of Non Governmental Organisations to procure them and distribution is done with the intervention of the ministry.
Registration and Licensing of Private Special Schools/Units
Licensing and registration of private schools has been centralised. All the private special schools and units are registered by the department of Special Needs and Career Guidance in the Ministry of Education and Sports. The department has so far licensed four and registered one special school.
Creation of government special schools and units does follow the same criteria used for establishing any relevant educational institution in the districts
Management of the educational institution too follow the same criteria laid under the Local Government Act 1997.
There is the challenge of varied attitude from both persons with disabilities and the ordinary persons. This has influenced the way programmes for disabled are implemented at all levels.
Most of the items for persons with disabilities are very expensive and not readily available for parents to provide them locally.
There are few NGOs who want to venture into this area due to the cost implications of most items in this area.
Despite training teachers and staff in this area, deployment has remained a challenge. Various appointing authorities especially at district level seem to down play the demand for teachers of Special Needs Education. They have to be reminded all the time.
Teacher pupil ration is not being implemented by some districts as required
Inadequate facilitation for regular monitoring and support supervision of policy implementation.
Organisations that have contributed to the development of Special Needs Education
• Sight Savers International
• Uganda Society of Disabled Children
• Kyambogo University