Application of design principles for primary schools

ABSTRACT The Universal Design principles only serve as a guideline to designing universally and the practice of design involves more than consideration for usability so designers must also incorporate other considerations such as economic, engineering, cultural, gender and environmental concerns in their design process. One of the arguments against Universal Design for developing countries is that it is too expensive to practice and that designers have other issues to grapple with (Steinfeld 2012) so Universal Design gains little attention in such countries. The irony of this is that developing countries have the majority of the world’s neglected disabled persons so they probably need to consider the implementation Universal Design practices much more than the developed countries. If Universal Design to be viewed differently in the perspective of the developing country such as Kenya this then raises the question if there is such a thing as “Design for Developed Countries” vs “Design in Developed Countries”. In the past, designs for developing countries tended to be short-term ventures where the main goal was to develop a product to solve the problem without economic, cultural and social considerations resulting in unsustainable solutions. An example of an unsustainable project is an expat designing a cargo bicycle for Kenya. Unfortunately, the designer did not think of the maintenance of the design which compelled a villager to voice that “It’s fine for you if I buy this product and it breaks because you will go back home. Me? I’m stuck here with it.”(Adapted from: Donaldson Krista (2008) Why to be wary of ‘Design for Developing Countries.’ Online Article in The Sanford University Journal [http//web.stanford.edu/-kmd.htm] Inclusive education is concerned with all learners, with a focus on those who have traditionally been excluded from educational opportunities such as learners with special needs and disabilities, children from ethnic and linguistic minorities. Inclusion is about the child’s right to participate and the school’s duty to accept the child and to reject the use of special schools or classrooms to separate students with disabilities from students without disabilities. A premium is placed upon full participation by students with disabilities and upon respect for their social, civil, and educational rights. Inclusive schools no longer distinguish between "general education" and "special education” programs; instead, the school is restructured so that all students learn together. The principles of Inclusive Education have been broadly accepted by many developing countries including Kenya since the international Salamanca Statement of 1991 on special needs education. Kenya signed and ratified the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities on 30th March and again on 19th May 2008. Inclusive education is a fundamental right in the constitution of Kenya and part of the Kenya Vison 2030 for the equity of all vulnerable groups. ‘…other goals include the integration of all special needs education into learning and training institutions.’ Adapted from Education and Training ,Chapter 5.1,The Kenya Vision 2030 Document Efforts to implement these policies are affected by the very same issues affecting the implementation of Universal Design and Accessible Design because developing countries have the tendency to sign and ratify policies yet they later claim to have no resources to implement them in comparison with the more affluent countries due to various factors. This thesis aims to research, study and discover methodologies for promoting Inclusive Education in primary schools through the differentiation and theoretical applications of the Universal Design principles in the perspective of a developing country, i.e. . Kenya through the study of three selected local case studies and two international ones.

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