Background: Creating access to curricula at institutions of higher education for students with disabilities requires a concerted effort from management and other key stakeholders to identify students’ needs and create opportunities for success.
Objectives: This paper presents the findings of a study which examined students with disabilities’ access to curricula at a higher education institution in Lesotho.
Method: Data for this qualitative study were collected using three methods: in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis. Eleven students with various types of impairments and 15 academic and non-academic staff members currently working in close proximity to students with disabilities participated in this study.
Results: The findings reveal inconsistencies between the institution’s admission policy of non-discrimination according to disability status and its practices. These inconsistencies are discussed under the following themes: (1) access at admission level, (2) management of disability data, (3) support by the special education unit, (4) teaching strategies, (5) support by lecturers, (6) availability of assistive technology, (7) special concessions and (8) students’ coping mechanisms.
Conclusion: We recommend that a clear policy concerning the support of students with disabilities be developed with the following aims: guide decisions on how disability data should be used, define roles that different university departments must play in facilitating access to curricula for all students, influence suitable development of teaching and learning resources, stimulate research on success and completion rates of students with disabilities and mandate restructuring of programmes that are currently inaccessible to students with disabilities. Key stakeholders, including students with disabilities, disabled persons’ organisations, disability rights activists, and staff should be involved in such policy design.