There has been an increase in enrollment of learners living with disabilities and special needs in primary schools in Mchinji courtesy of the Federation for Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA) inclusive education project.
Through the project which is piloted in nine schools in the district, learners with different impairments such as mobility problem, the deaf, visually impaired have classes with a special needs teacher aimed at helping them learn without difficulties.
One of the schools which has benefitted from the project Kamuzu Primary School has an enrolment of 64 learners from Standards one to eight with special needs from three.
Head teacher of the school Kaluma Saizi told Mana that before the project came in, most parents did not send their children with different impairments because they could not catch up in normal classes.
“We only had three learners but after the introduction of the project in 2013 improvements have been made and more learners aged six and above are enrolling at the school,” he said.
Saizi said the project has changed the mindset of the community and children with disabilities are not discriminated but encouraged to go to school.
FEDOMA Inclusive Education Project Manager Hastings Magombo said the inclusive education project was established in 2013 aimed at increasing equitable access to children with disabilities in mainstream schools.
“AS FEDOMA we have provided translucent iron sheets to ensure there is light in classrooms and provided wheel chairs, learning materials for learners with special needs and funded the construction disability friendly ramps and toilets at the school,” he said.
Magombo also said the project trained teachers how they can handle learners with special needs in an inclusive classroom.
Funded by World Bank the project also funds resource centres in piloted schools in Salima and Lilongwe which have among other others illustrations and drawing for easy learning by learners with special needs.