Assessment of learners with special needs for inclusive education in Botswana: issues and challenges for schools
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This study examines the role and functions of the Botswana Assessment Centre in diagnosing the learning needs of primary school students. It also examines the issues and challenges faced by learners with special needs who are not assessed for placement and/or instructional modification in regular primary schools. This study endeavours to articulate the issues around this lack of assessment and its implications for the learners and teachers of such learners. Forty-nine teachers from primary schools in Gaborone and surroundings responded to a thirteen-item questionnaire. Data from this questionnaire was analysed using descriptive statistics, t-tests and ANOVA. The results show that the Botswana Assessment Centre (Central Resource Centre (CRC) is unable to assess all students who require assessment and that there is a long wait time for assessments. The results also revealed that although the majority of schools had School Intervention Teams (SIT) who were responsible for referring students to assessment, the role of teams was unclear in some schools. This study recommends that government address the critical shortage of staff facing the Centre and pay more attention to the composition and functioning of the SITs. Finally, the Ministry of Education should explore other ways of ensuring that assessment for placement and modification of instruction can be efficiently and effectively carried out across Botswana.