According to the school mapping data from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, there are 3,464 special needs institutions of which 38.2 per cent are ECDE, 3.4 per cent are APBE, 54.1per cent primary and 4.3 per cent secondary. In the country there are 2,713 integrated institutions and 751 special schools. Eastern region has the largest number of Special Needs Education units with 734, while the North Eastern recorded the lowest with 56 units.
Among these, there are 10 public secondary schools for learners with hearing impairments, three for learners with physical handicaps and others four 4 for learners with visual impairments. In this case there are 17 secondary schools for learners with disabilities throughout Kenya.
Notably, these figures show that children with special needs have limited access to education. Generally, access and participation of pupils with special needs is low and their needs are not properly being addressed, especially children with behavioural difficulties and those with various forms of learning difficulties and attention deficit, gifted and talented.
The main obstacle in special needs education is that it requires costly equipment, well trained teachers and other enabling facilities.
In addition there is lack of detailed and reliable data on the actual prevalence of disabilities among school-age going children in the country.
Negative stereotyping, misconceptions and beliefs about the causes and consequences of disability as well as high levels of poverty and gender discrimination are barriers within the society that prevent children with special needs from participating in education. SNE is also constrained with inadequate number of highly specialised teachers and other support cadres. Majority of the Educational Assessment and Resource Centres have either obsolete or totally lack specialised equipment and human resource to discharge those services effectively.
There exist limited placement options within the areas of jurisdiction of the Educational Assessment and Resource Centres which leads to children being placed in units which cannot cater for their needs. The extra costs associated with children with disabilities such as medical treatment, special diets and assistive devices raise the unit cost of special needs education.