The Educational Challenges of "Integrated" Blind Students: the Case of Soddo Comprehensive High School

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Addis Ababa University


This study has tried to find out the educational challenges that blind students face in terms of various educational aspects: learning environment. curricular contents and their presentations, classroom interactions, obtaining and using special materials and services al Soado comprehensive High School. The views of the blind students, some sighted students and the participating teachers of the integration of blind students into regular classes have been attempted to be investigated. The pertinent justifications of the subjects to support their respective views are also tried to be found out. in order to attain the stated goals. two sets of questionnaire, one set for the blind students and the other set for the participating teachers. were used as a primary tool to collect data. Interviews with the school principal and the school librarian, focus group discussion with 8 Sighted students and observations to the blind students and some important settings in the school have been held just to supplement the data gathered through the sets of questionnaires. It has been found out that the blind students experience several severe problems in all the educational areas already mentioned above. • Classroom furniture together with its arrangement and the layout of the school compound are not convenient for free movement. • No modifications and adaptations are made to curricular contents and their teaching approaches. • There is a serious shortage of special materials and equipment in the school. No trainings are offered to use the materials and equipment. • Th ere are no special services such as resource room services, guidance and counseling services and mobility and orientation services in the school. The library services are also very meager. • It seems that there is no effective interaction between the sighted and the blind students in the school. The majority of blind students claim that they are hardly treated properly by the regular teachers. A range of prospective measures have been proposed by the distinct subjects of the study so as to alleviate the above listed problems and others. It was found that the views o( the blind students, their sighted peers and the participating teaches regarding the integration of blind students into regular classrooms vary greatly for various reasons. seventy percent, 62,5% and 36% of the blind students, sighted students and the teachers respectively support the integration of the students into regular classes for the enhanced academic and psychosocial developmel1l of the blind students ,The rest proportions of the groups favour the segregation of the students for the lack of many relevant per-conditions of appropriate integration. Finally based on the findings and discussions made, some helpful suggestions have been recommended