The main purpose of Advantage Africa's School Leavers’ Transition project is to improve the vocational learning and employment outcomes for students with special educational needs when they leave school.
The project incorporates:
• The training of teachers in two Special Units (Thinu and Mitaboni) in a wider more relevant curriculum focused on practice vocational skills.
• Access to better practical teaching resources and facilities.
• Working in close partnership with parents and guardians to ensure agreed expectations for a structured and supported return to the home community for the school leavers.
• Provision of resources for individual school leavers to start-up purposeful activities when they return to their home communities. Commonly livestock such as cows, sheep or goats which also help boost the family income.
• Collaboration with national bodies like Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to develop materials for the national special education curriculum and special education teacher training.
By December 2016, thirty two school leavers with learning disabilities from Mitaboni and Thinu Special Units were supported to make an effective transition home. The problem was that older students of 16+ years, and some as old as 24 years, were not progressing beyond school to the adult world. They became ‘stuck’ in school with neither guardians nor teachers knowing how to facilitate their transition into employment or a meaningful livelihood at home. In turn this blocked the progression of younger pupils through the school years and failed to provide good role models to encourage other students with disabilities and their families. The innovative Advantage Africa model of transition was tested and shared at a workshop in Nairobi in December 2015 and was hosted by Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) which is the National body for special eduction teacher training in Kenya. Delegates from the Ministry of Education, NGOs, schools and graduates with special needs themselves shared current best practice and went on to develop a practical handbook to address this immediate need. We are now continuing our partnership with KISE to develop a teaching module about transition, which will be taught to trainee special education teachers as one of the short 'Certificate' courses that KISE offer at a national level.
We very much thank British and Foreign Schools Society (BFSS) for their previous and ongoing support of our work in this area.