A baseline survey on special needs education (SNE) by the Education Department of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia conducted in Nkhata Bay, Chitipa and Karonga districts has uncovered several challenges facing pupils with special needs.
The survey under the Promoting Equal Access to Education in Malawi-Northern Region (Peatema North) project is funded 1 238 488 pound sterling (about K1.1 billion) by the Scottish Government in partnership with Sense Scotland.
According to the survey, records from sampled schools and education records indicate that between two and three percent of learners in mainstream schools had special education needs.
In addition, it says the greatest load of care for children with additional needs was notably higher on women (61 percent), compared to men (11 percent) or both (27 percent) and that confidence levels and capacity to support children was deemed low among parents and carers, expressed by only 20 percent of the survey participants.
States the survey: “Of the SNE learners participating in the baseline survey, only one in ten (10 percent) had received support from external agencies in the last 12 months.”
The department programme manager Thomas Nkhonjera said in an interview the percentage of the School Improvement Plan budget allocated and spent on SNE priority needs in the last 12 months is at three percent.
Meanwhile, the education division manager (North) Temwa Msiska, has admitted the challenges, urging various stakeholders to chip in and help the situation.
The project runs from 2018 to 2023. n