Experiences of learners with visual impairment in vocational education and training institutions. A case of two vocational education and training institutions for the blind in the districts of Mbale and Mukono
This study sought to investigate experiences of learners with Visual Impairment in Vocational Education and Training institutions with regards to Special devices used to enhance learning for persons with visual impairment, curriculum offered to learners with visual impai1ment, pedagogical approaches used to train learners with visual impairment, and the attitudes of teachers linstructors towards learners with visual impairment. The study was carried out in two vocational education and training institutions for the blind. The categories of respondents that were involved in the study were the administrators, instructors/teachers and learners with visual impairment. The study sample comprised two (02) administrators, five (05) teachers and five (05) learners with visual impairment from each of the selected vocational Education and training institutions. Interviews, observation and documentary analysis were used as research methods to collect data from the subjects. Data was analyzed according to the research objectives using a qualitative approach. The findings revealed that vocational institutions used for this study did not have sufficient special devices that could enhance learning for persons with visual impairment. This was associated to lack of adequate financial and material support to vocational institutions for people with visual impairment by the government. The study revealed that the curriculum followed at the institutions was basically to equip students with visual impairment with skills to enable them live independently but it was outdated and needed to be updated. The study also found out that institutions adhered to the principles of vocational didactics; their learning/teaching activities included vocational theory, and vocational practice apart from general knowledge which was not adhered to. Pedagogical approaches used to train learners with visual impainnent were mainly group work and individual learning depending on the activity at hand. The study also found out that teachers had a negative attitude towards leamers with visual impaim1ent and did not have the skills to train them The study made the following recommendations; institutions providing vocational skills for learners with visual impairment should be supported by government by providing special devices, the curriculum should be updated to suit the demands of the labor market and the general knowledge should be embedded in the curriculum, government should train and deploy special needs teachers in vocational institutions and teachers should change their attitude towards learners with visual impairment.