MKU Foundation sponsors cutting-edge sporting equipment for Special Needs students

Mount Kenya University has sponsored the procurement and installation of cutting-edge sporting equipment for students with special needs. The equipment will enable students at Thika Main Campus engage in an array of recreational activities as they pursue their studies.

The signature equipment is a Showdown table, popular worldwide for the visually-impaired. It is similar to table tennis and players bat a ball off the side wall of a table, along its edges, and under a centre screen aiming for the opponent’s goal. Each player serves two times in a row. The first player to reach eleven points, leading by two or more points, is the winner.
“Our aim to ensure Mount Kenya University is the most friendly and accommodating institution of higher learning in Africa for those with special needs,” says Mount Kenya University Foundation patron Prof. Simon Gicharu.
In December 2023, MKU’s affiliate in Rwanda Mount Kigali University won the ‘2023 Disability Inclusion Award’ by the National Council of Persons with Disabilities for its support to students and staff with special needs.
The games equipment will be installed at the newly-refurbished and expanded Students Centre in Thika. John Mwangi Ndungu, the University Braille Transcriber who works closely with the students with special needs says they will increase the variety of games to accommodate the diverse category of students with special needs.

Currently, the campus hosts numerous students with various special needs. The ‘Sector Policy for Learners and Trainees with Disabilities’ (MoE, 2018) identifies 11 categories of learners with special needs and disabilities: Hearing impairment, Visual impairment, Deaf-blindness, Physical impairment, Intellectual and developmental disabilities, Specific learning
disabilities, Cerebral palsy, Speech and language difficulties, Multiple disabilities, Autism and Albinism.
The June 2023 report of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reform in Kenya highlighted “lack of appropriate learning resources to suit learners” as one of the factors limiting access to education for students with special needs.
Over the years, MKU has been actively providing the appropriate learning resources. In partnership with Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa, the university has made available Orbit Reader 20 devices for use by students. It also has numerous braille machines, for use by both the visually impaired and students undertaking programmes in Special Needs Education.
Students who cannot read or write in braille also have access to a customized IT-software that enables them to write their exams with ease. “We are in the process of benchmarking with other institutions of higher learning, locally and internationally, to enhance inclusion of students and adaptation of facilities available,” adds Mr Mwangi.

Through its patron, MKU Foundation ensures students with special needs of continuous support as they engage in various curricular and co-curricular activities that’ll enable them actualize their dreams.

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