Challenges faced by hearing impaired adolescent schoolgirls in Western Kenya: The need for school leadership to respond.

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Shelley Jones

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Mweru Mwingi


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


While many countries have made progress towards achieving equality in education among the Hearing Impaired (HI), HI adolescent schoolgirls in Kenya continue to face many obstacles that impede their path to learning. They experience double discrimination based on their gender and disability. These concerns are complicated by the fact that few strong, positive and successful female HI role models exist within their communities and at school. While a number of studies have been conducted to investigate HI girls’ challenges in schools, very little is known about how school leadership addresses these challenges especially in the Kenyan context. This research therefore sought to explore the challenges faced by HI adolescent schoolgirls in Kenya, and how school leadership responds to those challenges. The study used a qualitative case study approach involving six school leaders and six HI girls from class six to class eight whose ages ranged between thirteen to seventeen years old. The school is a co-educational boarding primary school for HI. It has thirteen teachers, three male including one who is HI and ten female teachers. The learners’ population is one hundred and twenty four, seventy six boys and forty eight girls. One on one interviews, focus group discussions, observations and document analysis were used. Study findings reveal that challenges such as communication breakdown, lack of role models, late starting, absenteeism and dropouts and sexual abuse are prevalent in the school. Findings also show that there are factors that constrain school leadership in addressing the HI girls’ challenges which include lack of parental involvement, inadequate facilities, lack of awareness and sensitization, culture and negative attitudes and inadequate guidance and counseling. However, findings showed that there were opportunities that could be utilized by the school leadership in addressing the adolescent HI girls’ challenges which included government and school policies, rules and regulations, donors and well-wishers and trained teachers in Special Needs Education. The study therefore calls for the adoption of proactive measures such as creation of stakeholder awareness, establishment of guidance and counseling desks, formulation of explicit gender-responsive policies, sourcing HI role models like HI female teachers and support staff and in service training on gender issues for teachers to address HI girls’ challenges. Moreover the study raises significant issues for educational practice.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library