Vol. 5, Issue 4 (2019)
The nature of bullying among pupils with visual impairments in Zambia: A case of selected special schools for the visually impaired
Author(s): Maiba Rosta, Maurice Moono, Crispin Maambo, Siamoongwa Phanety
The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature of bullying among the visually impaired pupils at Magwero School in Chipata District, Eastern province, St Mulumba School in Choma District, Southern Province and Ndola Lions School in Copperbelt Province. The objectives of the study were to assess the nature of bullying among the visually impaired pupils in special schools and determine whether the rate of bullying varies with grade and gender. A survey approach was used in conducting this research. Data was collected through a checklist, focus group discussion sessions and questionnaires were administered to specialist teachers to complement the data from the checklist. The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods in the collection of data. The target population comprised of lower and middle grades 1 to 6 special school pupils who were visually impaired and special education teachers who handled them. The sample size comprised of 75 boys and 75 girls who were visually impaired pupils and 15 special education teachers. The study used a total number of 165 respondents. The statistical package of social sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze the data from which frequencies, percentages and graphs were generated. The study revealed that bullying in residential special schools does exist and that the levels vary among boys and girls. All the grades were affected by bullying but that it was more eminent in the lower grades (1- 5). This scenario could be attributed to the fact that these pupils are new in the school and have very little experience of the school environment. The study showed that both girls and boys were victims of bullying. In grades 1, 3 and 5 the rate of bullying was higher among boys than girls. From the findings of the study, the following recommendations were suggested:
- The Ministry of General Education to introduce new programmes in residential special schools to specifically sensitize parents, teachers and school administrators on the evils of bullying.
- School head teachers should embark on routine checks in school and dormitories to apprehend the culprits who should be sensitized on the effects of bullying.
- Schools should strengthen the position of the house masters in special residential schools by giving them an incentive in form of an allowance. This would motivate them to reduce bullying in schools.
- Schools should introduce stickers in Braille for pupils with visual impairments on their styluses and budges as a way of sensitisation against bullying in special residential schools.