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Despite the government of Kenya supporting the training and employment of teachers to deliver quality education to learners with hearing challenges, the academic performance in primary schools for learners with hearing impairments has been poor. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of augmentative and alternative assistive technology devices on academic performance in primary schools for learners with hearing challenges in Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties, Kenya. The study was guided by the capability theory. The mixed-methods approach and descriptive research design were adopted. The target population was the three primary schools for learners with hearing impairments in Meru and Tharaka Nithi Counties. It interviewed head teachers and County Educational Directors of Education and issued questionnaires to learners. Staff participated in a focused group discussion. The learners, teaching and non-teaching staff, were selected using simple random sampling technique, while the three head teachers and the two County Educational Directors of Education were selected purposively. Descriptive statistics and correlation were used in the quantitative data analysis, while thematic technique was used on qualitative data. Analysis of data was done by computing inferential and descriptive statistics using SPSS. Dismal academic performance was reported in the three primary schools. The study noted inadequate and poorly maintained augmentative and alternative assistive technology devices, inadequate learners’ skills, weak guidelines for using the devices and insufficient support from the government. The utilization of augmentative and alternative assistive technology devices was low. The study recommended that the Ministry of Education should purchase all the required augmentative and alternative assistive technology devices, allocate adequate funds for their maintenance and establish a policy that fosters the utilization of augmentative and alternative assistive technology devices in the school. The findings suggest changes in the curriculum, qualification of staff, funding, and teaching pedagogies.
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