AN ASSESSMENT OF ACADEMIC FACTORS IMPEDING THE INCLUSION OF LEARNERS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENT IN LAGOS STATE
Background of the study
It is widely believed that a substantial percentage of children in sub-Saharan nations, particularly Ethiopia, suffer from some kind of visual impairment. It is believed that between four and nine percent of school-aged children in Ethiopia suffer from some kind of vision impairment (Nebiyat et al., 2015). Infectious disorders such as trachoma and cataracts, as well as refractive errors, have been recognized as the primary reasons for vision impairment and blindness. Minefields, social, economic, and regional dynamics are examples of man-made variables, although not all of the elements that contribute to the problem are man-made (Merrie et al., 2019). According to the findings of other research, there are 2.8 million individuals in Ethiopia who have limited vision, 1.2 million adults who have lost their eyesight, and 9 million children between the ages of 1 and 9 who have active trachoma. It is believed that 40.1% of children have trachoma, which is an active form of the disease. The most common cause of blindness is trachoma, which may occur as a consequence of many infections with the disease (Reda et al., 2020; Wale et al., 2019). According to estimates provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1.8 million people in Ethiopia, or 1.6% of the total population, are blind, and 4.1 million people, or 3.7% of the total population, have impaired vision. According to the WHO's research, these figures are much higher than the global average of 1.2% and 3.4%, respectively.
The high incidence of vision impairment, particularly among children who attend school, demonstrates the need for systematic help from a variety of Ethiopian organizations. In particular, Ethiopia became a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2010, which the United Nations General Assembly (UN: General Assembly, 2018) notes contains provisions for the right to get an education. However, similar to other low-income nations in Africa, Ethiopia may have difficulties in providing the essential resources for visually impaired children who are enrolled in schools. The publications that investigate the educational opportunities available to students in sub-Saharan Africa who have a visual impairment (UNESCO, 2020) have created a grim image when discussing the difficulties that face this population. According to the findings, students who have visual impairments are at a disadvantage educationally since the infrastructure is still difficult to use and because there is a shortage of assistive technology. Although some legislative frameworks have suggested that these students need special education assistance, they are taught in mainstream schools that have less resources, making it impossible to meet their requirements or unique and specialized needs (Limaye, 2016). Pupils in Ethiopia who have a visual impairment face a variety of obstacles to their education, which are detailed below. There is a shortage of equipment, a limited number of skilled employees, insufficient and unsuitable resources, little oversight of schools, and minimal cooperation within the system that provides assistance for students with special needs. These obstacles to learning are having a detrimental effect, not only on the practice of inclusion but also on the inclusion of students who have a visual impairment.
Although there is a wealth of published material on the general challenges of inclusive education in Ethiopia, very little research has been done on what goes on inside the classrooms and which resources impede the full inclusion of students who have visual impairments. This is despite the fact that there is a plethora of literature on the general predicaments of inclusive education in Ethiopia. It is clear that the government bears the brunt of the responsibility for ensuring an inclusive education system that ultimately leads to the inclusion of the person. However, it seems that the need of maintaining a balance between an inclusive educational system and enough and suitable resources has been neglected. Academic hurdles, in addition to the need to concentrate on the system and infrastructure to offer full access, constitute a danger to the academic performance of learners with visual impairment and need to be addressed. Despite the need to focus on the system and infrastructure to provide full access. Even if the content of this article is restricted to the setting of Ethiopia, it is nevertheless important on a worldwide scale, particularly in the global south, since the academic demands of a large number of learners who have a visual impairment are still disregarded. This article is a consequence of that, and as a result, it analyzes the results of the study as well as academic impediments that are presenting a danger to students who have visual impairments. It is possible that in the end it will give schools and the government with a guide, help, and information. Therefore, this study will academic factors impeding the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State
Statement of the problem
The teachers are the most important resources and critical role actors in the process of achieving inclusive education (Mariga et al., 2020). Nevertheless, in order to instruct students who come from a variety of backgrounds, instructors need to possess the appropriate information, abilities, and ideal attitude toward diversity. Furthermore, Mariga et al. (2020) and Negash (2017) discuss how the effective practice of inclusive education is highly dependent on the attitudes and skills of the teacher, but it is possible for teachers to lack sufficient prior knowledge and skills regarding inclusive education and how to put it into practice. It's possible that some teachers have little to no experience in the classroom with students who have impairments. Mwakyeja's (2019) research on the teaching of students with visual impairment in inclusive classrooms reveals that despite the fact that educators are aware of the significance of inclusive education, they lack the knowledge necessary to read and translate braille, adapt and modify teaching methods and teaching resources, and implement individualized education programs. This is despite the fact that educators acknowledge the significance of inclusive education (IEP). This suggests that educators should be provided with training on how to instruct students who have disabilities in general, and those who have visual impairments in particular. Hence, this study seeks to assess the academic factors impeding the Inclusion of Learners With Visual Impairment in Lagos State.
Objective of the study
The general objective of this study is to assess the academic factors impeding the Inclusion of Learners With Visual Impairment in Lagos State. The specifics objectives is as follows:
To find out whether inflexible curriculum affects the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State.
To examine whether environmental inaccessibility influence the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State.
To investigate whether negative attitudes from teachers affects the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State.
To assess whether inappropriate assessment procedures influences the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State.
The following questions have been prepared for the study:
Does inflexible curriculum affects the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State?
Does environmental inaccessibility influence the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State?
Does negative attitudes from teachers affects the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State?
Does inappropriate assessment procedures influences the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State?
Significance of the study
The results of study would be assist in coming up with ways to assist visual impaired students in improving their performance in the subjects offered in schools by use of AT.
The study will also be significant to the ministry of education as it will be exposed to the debilitating status of visually impaired school environment.
The study would also add to the body of knowledge on effect of AT devices in teaching and learning of visually impaired students.
1.6 Scope of the study
The study will find out whether inflexible curriculum affects the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State. The study will also examine whether environmental inaccessibility influence the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State. The study will further investigate whether negative attitudes from teachers affects the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State. Lastly, the study will assess whether inappropriate assessment procedures influences the inclusion of learners with visual impairment in Lagos State. Hence, this study is delimited to Lagos State
1.7 Limitation of the study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.8 Definition of terms
Visual impairment: a person's eyesight cannot be corrected to a “normal” level.