The University’s Promoting Awareness and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Education and Community based Programmes (PAPPS) project team leaders and partners held a Partners’ meeting at JOOUST Kisumu Campus to review progress made. The delegation was led by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Stephen Agong’ in the company of Deputy Vice Chancellors Prof. Joseph Bosire (Academic Affairs) and Prof. Benson Estambale (Research, Innovation and Outreach) who are also core participants in the project.
While giving His Opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor lauded the team for the notable milestones achieved within a short period. The Siaya Coordinator, National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Mr. George Odhiambo, further praised JOOUST for being the only University in Kenya that holds a Disability Day, to raise awareness on disability and bring the community together on inclusive participation towards national development.
With only a year left, the three year project has not only surpassed expectation but exemplified prudent use of the funding pumped in by National Research Fund (NRF) grant. The project set out with the following objectives; to determine how PWDs including the Gifted and Talented and those with Autism are identified, assessed and categorized, another being to establish community awareness of national and local policies on inclusion of PWDs, To assess the effect of infrastructure and environment on learning outcomes of learners with special needs and/or disabilities among others.
Some of the notable achievements include, reviewing the educational policy documents with regard to admission, retention and transition and recommended adjustments, establishing a Disability Mainstreaming Office for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), conducting mass awareness campaigns on local language radio stations on rights and services for PWDs, establishing a basis for improving infrastructure in schools to support learners with special needs, developed curriculum for a short course for training parents and caregivers of PWDs and more.
While giving his presentation, the Principal Investigator, Dr. Charles Omoke advised that there is yet, so much more sensitization to be made to counter the prevalent knowledge gap on how to handle students with disability in schools within Siaya County.
During the discussions, Prof. Estambale urged that all gears should aim on dissemination of information to relevant parties to ensure the project achieves its core mandate as well as contribute to the knowledge base in the research community.
In closing, Prof. Bosire reiterated further that, JOOUST is a “thinking” and “talking” Institution to denote innovation and dissemination, adding that PAPPS has a chance to identify innovative practices that are solution driven.