Tanzania: Improve Learning Environment in Special Schools, Govt Asked

THE government has been asked to improve infrastructure, learning and teaching environment in schools accommodating pupils with special needs in order to enable them get their basic rights without any hindrance. The request was made by some pupils with special needs studying at Mgori Coeducation Primary School in Singida District council.

They said despite, the government implementing Inclusive Education Policy that requires pupils with special needs to study together with normal ones, the issue of special learning, teaching and poor infrastructure remains an obstacle to them in accessing quality education.

"There is no dormitory here. We are actually sleeping in a room that was once a classroom before being renovated to teachers' office and now it's our dormitory," said Obed Williard, one of the pupils.

He added; "I, at least, have a blurred vision but there are pupils who do not see at all. We live in this dormitory whose toilets are outside. Imagine the challenges we face during the night. We can be bitten by poisonous insects, snakes or even harmed by bad people."

Another pupil, Amiri Mohamed, said the institution lacks necessary learning materials such as braille machines and special papers for drawing, forcing blind pupils to rely on others to read for them from the black board before they write the same on their slates.

"The exams are also presented in text form, without taking into consideration pupils with special needs. So, you have to remain put until your desk mate with vision reads the text for you...we really suffer untold stories here that no one can imagine," he lamented.

The pupils said there was a need for the government to look into the possibility of improving the learning and teaching environment in order to attract parents and guardians to send their children with special needs to school, instead of hiding them at home thinking they would encounter more sufferings at the school.

Hemed Kilango, a teacher responsible for the school's special education unit admitted that he was facing a major challenge in teaching the children, citing lack of necessary teaching tools.

"We have no or small budget to enable us buy enough hats, sunglasses or skin oils for pupils with albinism, for instance," he added.

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