The purpose of Advantage Africa's School Leavers’ Transition project in Kenya, is to improve the vocational learning, employment outcomes and life chances of students with special educational needs when they leave school. The project design originated with our long-term experience of practical support for two Special Units (Thinu and Mitaboni) in Kenya. Since then we have developed and tested an innovative model of school leavers' transition which is now being rolled out nationally through our partnership with Kenya Institute of Special Education in Nairobi. We have written a handbook for teachers and families, and developed a teacher-training course. By early 2021 we had impacted 255 individuals with disabilities, 1,275 of their family members & 24 schools.
The project incorporates:
• The training of teachers 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.
The problem we identified was that older students with special educational needs of 16+ years, and some as old as 26 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. In 2019 the innovative Advantage Africa model of transition was tested and adopted by Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) which is the National body for special education teacher training in Kenya.
We very much thank British and Foreign Schools Society (BFSS) for their previous and ongoing support of our work in this area.