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The Need and Desire for Inclusive Universities: A Perspective from Development Studies

THOMPSON, Stephen
July 2021

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In recent times there has been sustained momentum to address inequalities within university faculties and improve the diversity of students. Also, in response to historical and current social injustices, universities have sought to decolonize curricula. These progressive movements have had particular significance for departments focused on development studies and related subjects because the need to be inclusive is not only the right thing to do from a moral position, but also because to be exclusive is fundamentally challenging to the conceptualization and philosophy of the discipline. Development is a contested term but addressing inequality and working towards social justice are common themes found across most definitions. This commentary provides a critical insight into the importance of inclusive universities as gatekeepers to equitable knowledge production and the development of future professionals. To play their part in addressing the challenges posed by a globalized world, universities need to be proactive in ensuring that they become fully and meaningfully inclusive. While all university departments would benefit from becoming more inclusive, departments focused on development must be the pioneers leading the way, as inclusivity is relevant to the delivery of development studies, as well as emerging as an important discourse within the discipline that continues to evolve. This commentary will explore how and why in an increasingly interconnected global society, the need for universities to leave no one behind, and challenge hegemonic and unequal structures has never been greater.

Hard of Hearing Adults’ Interpersonal Interactions and Relationships in Daily Life

OLSSON, Sylvia
DAG, Munir
KULLBERG, Christian
2021

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Globally, there is limited research on how deaf and hard of hearing adults experience higher education and work. The purpose of the present study is to examine hard of hearing (HH) adults’ experiences of social interactions and social relationships in higher education, the workplace and leisure time. Data were obtained from semistructured interviews with 16 individuals (aged 24–31 years) from diverse cultural backgrounds (10 males and 6 females) with severe-to-profound hearing loss. Participants were selected based on previous expressed interest in participating in further studies after having been involved in an earlier study. The interviews were subjected to a qualitative thematic data analysis. According to the results, people with a hearing loss experience communication barrier in higher education, at work and in leisure time. These communication barriers lead to difficulties achieving social inclusion, and in some circumstances to social exclusion. Assistive technology (AT) and information and communication technologies (ICT) were important facilitators of moving from social exclusion towards social inclusion.

Inclusion, access, and accessibility of educational resources in higher education institutions: exploring the Ethiopian context

BEYENE, Wondwossen Mulualem
MEKONNEN, Abraham Tulu
GIANNOUMIS, George Anthony
2020

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The right of persons with disabilities for equal access to education and educational resources is enshrined by international and country-specific anti-discrimination laws. Taking the Ethiopian context as an example, this paper sought to identify barriers of access to educational resources and explored ways for removing them. Seventeen students with visual impairments studying at Hawassa University were selected for semi-structured interviews. Moreover, five individuals working at the disability centre and the university library were interviewed. The results of the interviews were analysed thematically using the International Classification of Functioning, Disabilities and Health (ICF) as a framework. Access and accessibility problems that emanate from the learners’ diverse background, lack of educational resources in alternative formats, lack of institutional tools (policy, procedure, guidelines, etc.) to bridge the gap between law and practice, and the digital divide were among the problems identified and discussed. At the end, the paper showed how libraries, revitalised as learning and information commons, could help to ensure the accessibility of educational resources and help learners with disabilities to acquire skills that may help them in their studies and their future undertakings.

Representation and methods of normalisation: Narratives of disability within a South African tertiary institution

DEVAR, Teagan
BOBAT, Shaida
REUBEN, Shanya
July 2020

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Background: The manner in which disability is understood influences how individuals within a society, its institutions, policies and structures are able to accommodate and support people with disabilities (PWD) (Kaplan 2000). Understanding how students with disabilities (SWD) within a higher education context perceive and experience disability as well as how key players, namely, lecturers and disability unit (DU) staff, who influence that experience, is important in further shaping policy and providing a truly inclusive environment for all within HEIs.

 

Objectives: The study aimed to examine the narratives of disability among SWD, lecturers and the DU within a tertiary institution, with a view to better understand their experiences and required initiatives to address the challenges of disability within a higher tertiary institution.

 

Method: The study drew on three theoretical frameworks: social constructionism, feminist disability theory and the Foucauldian perspective. Data for the study were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 12 SWD, seven members of staff from the institution’s DU and five lecturers from within the School of Applied Human Sciences. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

 

Results: The findings suggested that in spite of both facilitating and positive representations of disability, the dominant representation of disability was perceived as challenging and as a result, disempowering. Students with disabilities were found to adapt, and consequently modify their behaviour by disassociating from their disability in order to fit in.

 

Conclusion: The study highlights the need for creating spaces and engagement within an HEI context that both challenge negative discourses of disability, and at the same time, promote positive representations of disability.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020

Disability Inclusive Development - Nigeria Situational Analysis

THOMPSON, Stephen
June 2020

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This situational analysis (SITAN) addresses the question: “what is the current situation for persons with disabilities in Nigeria?”. It has been prepared for the Disability Inclusive Development programme (which works on access to education, jobs, healthcare, and reduced stigma and discrimination for persons with disabilities in Bangladesh, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, and Tanzania), to better understand the current context, including COVID-19, and available evidence in Nigeria. It will be helpful for anyone interested in disability inclusion in Nigeria, especially in relation to stigma, employment, education, health, and humanitarian issues.

The promise of equal education not kept: Specific learning disabilities – The invisible disability

GOW, Melanie A
MOSTERT, Yvonne
DREYER, Lorna
February 2020

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Background: This research is part of a larger project on the exploration of inequalities in South African higher education. This current study focussed on the implementation of policies to eradicate inequalities in an inclusive education system.

 

Objectives: This article aimed to establish the implementation of policy by researching the lived experiences of students with specific learning disabilities (SLDs) studying in the university.

 

Method: A qualitative, systematic review was employed as the research methodology. Original peer-reviewed qualitative studies published between 1994 and 2017 were systematically reviewed. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) was used to ensure rigorous reviews. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) was used to guide the process of critical appraisal of the selected articles which resulted in a total of 10 articles being selected for reviewing. The target population of this research comprised undergraduate students diagnosed with SLD. Semi-structured interviews were the main data collection tools used in the studies that were reviewed. Data from the selected articles were extracted and synthesised.

 

Results: The dominant themes that emerged from the review were: (1) fear of stigmatisation; (2) gaps in policy implementation; (3) experiences vary across departments; and (4) self-determination and family support as success factors.

 

Conclusion: An important aspect in the transformation of higher education institution is to ensure the closing of the disjuncture between policy and implementation in support of students with SLD.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020 

Zero Project Report 2020: Inclusive education. 75 Innovative Practices and 11 Innovative Policies from 54 countries

BUTCHER, Thomas
et al
January 2020

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There are several sections in this report:

  • Executive summary
  • Impact of the Zero Project: Survey results
  • Innovative policies and practices: Factsheets and life stories
  • The Zero Project Impact Transfer accelerator programme
  • An analysis of ICT supporting innovations in inclusive education
  • SDGs, Data and inclusive education
  • Summary of report in Easy Read. 

Themes were:

  • Early childhood and preschool
  • Formal education (primary and secondary education)
  • Universities (tertiary education)
  • Vocational education and training
  • Non-formal education
  • ICT-driven solutions related to education/digital skills

Even we are important: Sexuality and the degenderisation of people with disabilities in the linguistic landscapes of two South African universities in the Western Cape province

ADEKUNLE, Temitope O.
MHETA, Gift
RAPEANE-MATHONSI, Maleshoane
November 2019

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Background: This study focuses on the positioning of gender, sexual orientation and people with disabilities in the linguistic landscapes of two selected South African universities, which are located in the Western Cape province.

 

Objectives: This study aims to answer the question: How are power relations depicted through linguistic landscaping in the universities?

 

Methods: Given that there is minimal empirical data in this field, the researcher approached this question by exploring the way in which sexual orientation and people with disabilities are perceived, via the modal resources used in the categorisation of toilet users at the institutions. Specifically, toilet signage was observed as there were only a few other signage or forms of support (such as ramps and lifts – some of which may seem disability-unfriendly in terms of space) and acknowledgement in other places at the institutions for people with disabilities. Data (signs, images, texts, billboards and posters) were collected by means of photography. The interpretive paradigm was used to determine the choice of methodology: critical discourse analysis and multimodality. These were also used to thematically analyse the collected data.

 

Results: Findings revealed that sexuality, as well as subtle inequality, unfortunately remain unravelled areas in South Africa’s higher institutions of learning. In addition, the degenderisation of people with disabilities appears to be prevalent at the institutions, although this may not necessarily be reflective of practices at all higher education institutions in South Africa.

 

Conclusion: Nonetheless, the examined results are stimulating indicators of hegemonic and preferred practices in public places. They also depict the obtainable dissimilar scales and imbalances in society, which are not addressed may impede other authentic and ongoing measures of social integration and advancement.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Including parents in inclusive practice: Supporting students with disabilities in higher education

DUMA, Princess T.
SHAWA, Lester B.
October 2019

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Background: While a number of research studies have endeavoured to understand students with disabilities’ experience in higher education and have recommended ways to effectively support student success, the role of parental support has been neglected. Many studies have been hampered by a limited understanding of students with disabilities and have, in particular, underestimated students’ ‘access to economic, social and cultural forms of capital’ that caring parents provide.

 

Objectives: This article seeks to explore students with disabilities’ experiences of parental support in the South African higher education context. The research question guiding this article is: What forms of economic, social and cultural capital do parents and extended families provide to students with disabilities to enable them to succeed in higher education?

 

Method: In-depth semi-structured individual and focus group interviews were conducted with 17 students with disabilities at two universities of technology. The interview transcripts were thematically analysed with a view to understanding Pierre Bourdieu’s forms of capital that parents provided.

 

Results: The study found that while parents are not always able to provide material support, they offered rich and varied forms of social and cultural capital that enabled students with disabilities’ academic success.

 

Conclusion: Given that parental support plays an important role in the success of students with disabilities, and this role changes as these students become more independent, this study recommends the need for universities to also pay more attention to involving parents in the education of the former. It is hoped that putting in place appropriate forms of parental involvement can create a conducive environment for universities to provide inclusive education holistically.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

A university’s response to people with disabilities in Worcester, Western Cape

MÜLLER, Jana V.
NED, Lieketseng
BOSHOFF, Hananja
October 2019

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Background: The call for institutions of higher education to foster interaction with communities and ensure training is responsive to the needs of communities is well documented. In 2011, Stellenbosch University collaborated with the Worcester community to identify the needs of people with disabilities within the community. How the university was engaging with these identified needs through student training still needed to be determined.

 

Objectives: This study describes the engagement process of reciprocity and responsivity in aligning needs identified by persons with disability to four undergraduate allied health student training programmes in Worcester, Western Cape.

 

Method: A single case study using the participatory action research appraisal methods explored how undergraduate student service learning was responding to 21 needs previously identified in 2011 alongside persons with disability allowing for comprehensive feedback and a collaborative and coordinated response.

 

Results: Students’ service learning activities addressed 14 of the 21 needs. Further collaborative dialogue resulted in re-grouping the needs into six themes accompanied by a planned collaborative response by both community and student learning to address all 21 needs previously identified.

 

Conclusion: Undergraduate students’ service learning in communities has the potential to meet community identified needs especially when participatory action research strategies are implemented. Reciprocity exists when university and community co-engage to construct, reflect and adjust responsive service learning. This has the potential to create a collaborative environment and process in which trust, accountability, inclusion and communication is possible between the university and the community.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Assistive technology enables inclusion in higher education: The role of Higher and Further Education Disability Services Association

LYNER-CLEOPHAS, Marcia
August 2019

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Background: Using assistive technology is one way to foster inclusion of students in the post-school education and training (PSET) sector.

 

Objectives: Higher and Further Education Disability Services Association (HEDSA) enables the sharing of new knowledge about assistive technologies through its symposia, and making information available on its website. Additionally, it facilitates dialogue and collaboration amongst institutions in the PSET network using a listserv and newsletters, given that PSET institutions are spread countrywide.

 

Method: This is an article based on a presentation at the 5th African Network of Evidence-to-Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference in Ghana in 2017 that focused on the value of assistive technology for students pursuing studies in the PSET sector and the role played by HEDSA in South Africa.

 

Results: The positive gains and existing gaps in disability inclusion in the higher education sector in South Africa are highlighted, with reference to access to technology. All higher education institutions have internet access and can thereby make use of listservs to communicate information. MapAbility is a way that prospective students can gain a snapshot view of available resources at institutions of learning, using the internet.

 

Conclusion: An association such as HEDSA plays a critical role in the PSET sector to enhance disability inclusion using online tools to disseminate information.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

A snapshot of the chalkboard writing experiences of Bachelor of Education students with visual disabilities in South Africa

SUBRAYEN, Roshanthni
DHUNPATH, Rubby
July 2019

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Background: South African higher education policy frameworks highlight renewed interest in equity, access and participation imperatives for students with disabilities (SWDs). However, students with visual disabilities continue to face barriers in their teaching practice school placements.

 

Objectives: This article aims, firstly, to provide early insights into the barriers experienced by students with visual disabilities in their teaching practice school placements in under-resourced schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Secondly, it introduces learning communities and a teaching practice pre-placement booklet to enhance equity, access and participation in teaching practice school placements.

 

Method: This study adopted a qualitative methodology using semi-structured interviews to elicit data from two Bachelor of Education students with visual disabilities, who were part of a teaching practice learning community managed by the Disability Unit at the University. Thematic analysis was used, using Tinto’s Learning Community Model which generated valuable evidence to argue for institutional commitment to achieve equity, access and participation for students with visual disabilities.

 

Results: Through engagement with a teaching practice learning community and a teaching practice pre-placement booklet, two students with visual disabilities responded to and managed the chalkboard in ways that promoted teaching and learning in the classroom. These retention support trajectories provide evidence to support enhanced equity, access and participation. Given the stigma associated with disability and the need for equity at policy level, higher education institutions should seriously consider systemic mechanisms for access, participation and success outcomes in the teaching practice school placements of students with visual disabilities.

 

Conclusion: Barriers to participation signal the need for accessible teaching and learning strategies for use by students with visual disabilities in their teaching practice school placements. Teaching practice assessors should be alerted to contextual differences in resourced and under-resourced school settings and the diverse ways in which SWDs navigate these differences.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Access into professional degrees by students with disabilities in South African higher learning: A decolonial perspective

NDLOVU, Sibonokuhle
2019

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Background: Former historically disadvantaged social groups such as women, black people and those with disabilities are expected to participate in the skilled labour force that South Africa has pledged to produce for the 21st century. However, in the South African context, research widely neglects access of those into professional degrees in higher learning. There is a need for such an exploration because people with disabilities have been found to be excluded from professional employment.

 

Objectives: Using decolonial theory, this empirical study sought to explore obstacles confronted by students with disabilities at entry in a specific institution of higher learning in South Africa. The aim was to unveil the invisible obstacles and their causes for an effective intervention.

 

Method: A qualitative research design was adopted and in-depth interviews were conducted to collect data from the participants. This particular dimension of research method was chosen to enable dialogue and development of partnership, which is important for collecting rich data.

 

Results: While policies of inclusion still enabled access of all students into professional degrees, there were however inequitable practices, alienation and inequality that excluded students with disabilities at entry. Obstacles seen at surface level were not the real ones; the real ones were the deep-seated issues of coloniality.

 

Conclusion: If the underlying causes of obstacles at entry are not visible to students with disabilities themselves and the responsible stakeholders, students might continue to be oppressed on entry into the professional degrees and in higher learning generally. Obstacles can only be dismantled when there is an awareness about their deep-seated causes.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Success in Africa: People with disabilities share their stories

SHAKESPEARE, Tom
MUGEERE, Anthony
NYARIKI, Emily
SIMBAYA, Joseph
2019

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Background: Whereas most narratives of disability in sub-Saharan Africa stress barriers and exclusion, Africans with disabilities appear to show resilience and some appear to achieve success. In order to promote inclusion in development efforts, there is a need to challenge narratives of failure.

 

Objectives: To gather life histories of people with disabilities in three sub-Saharan African countries (Kenya, Uganda and Sierra Leone) who have achieved economic success in their lives and to analyse factors that explain how this success has been achieved.

 

Methods: Qualitative research study of economic success involving life history interviews with 105 participants with disabilities from both urban and rural settings recruited through disabled people’s organisations and non-governmental organisation partners, framework analysis of transcripts to chart success and success factors.

 

Results: Participants had faced barriers in education, employment and family life. They had largely surmounted these barriers to achieve success on an equal basis with others. They were working in private and public sectors and were self-employed farmers, shopkeepers and craftspeople.

 

Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that, given the right support, disabled people can achieve economic success, with the implication being that investment in education or training of disabled people can be productive and should be part of overall development efforts for economic reasons, not solely to achieve social justice goals.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Funding and inclusion in higher education institutions for students with disabilities

CHIWANDIRE, Desiree
VINCENT, Louise
2019

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Background: Historically, challenges faced by students with disabilities (SWDs) in accessing higher education institutions (HEIs) were attributed to limited public funding. The introduction of progressive funding models such as disability scholarships served to widen access to, and participation in, higher education for SWDs. However, recent years have seen these advances threatened by funding cuts and privatisation in higher education.

 

Objectives: In this article, the funding mechanisms of selected developed and developing democratic countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and India are described in order to gain an insight into how such mechanisms enhance access, equal participation, retention, success and equality of outcome for SWDs. The countries selected are often spoken about as exemplars of best practices in relation to widening access and opportunities for SWDs through government mandated funding mechanisms. Method: A critical literature review of the sample countries’ funding mechanisms governing SWDs in higher education and other relevant government documents; secondary academic literature on disability funding; online sources including University World News, University Affairs, newspaper articles, newsletters, literature from bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Disabled World and Parliamentary Monitoring Group. Data were analysed using a theoretically derived directed qualitative content analysis.

 

Results: Barriers which place SWDs at a substantial educational disadvantage compared to their non-disabled peers include bureaucratisation of application processes, cuts in disability funding, means-test requirements, minimal scholarships for supporting part-time and distance learning for SWDs and inadequate financial support to meet the day-to-day costs that arise as a result of disability.

 

Conclusion: Although the steady increase of SWDs accessing HEIs of the sampled countries have been attributed to supportive disability funding policies, notable is the fact that these students are still confronted by insurmountable disability funding-oriented barriers. Thus, we recommend the need for these HEIs to address these challenges as a matter of urgency if they are to respect the rights of SWDs as well as provide them with an enabling environment to succeed academically.

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Exploring the experiences of students with visual impairments at the University of Botswana

OATS, Reginald
DISELE, Chawapiwa
2019

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Purpose: This paper sought to document the responsiveness of the University of Botswana towards the academic needs of students with visual impairments. The study examined the academic experiences of students with visual impairments enrolled at the University and explored their information-seeking needs. The study was informed by the theory of social justice.

Method: This was a qualitative study. Data was collected from students with visual impairments and academic staff from different faculties at the University of Botswana, through document analysis, interviews and observation techniques.

Results: The findings revealed that students with visual impairments experience extra challenges compared to students without disabilities. This is mainly because they do not get full support to enable them to excel academically. Furthermore, lecturers use teaching methodologies that do not accommodate these students, and learning materials are not adapted to formats suitable for them. Access to information is another major concern that hinders the participation of students with visual impairments in tertiary institutions.

Conclusion: The study recommends that lecturers need to be trained on suitable methods to teach students with visual impairments and how best to deliver academic content to them.

 

Disability, CBR and Inclusive Development, Vol 30, No 1 (2019)

4th global report on adult learning and education: leave no one behind: participation, equity and inclusion

UNESCO INSTITUTE FOR LIFELONG LEARNING
2019

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This report explores participation in adult learning and education from the perspective of equity and inclusion. The first part tracks progress in adult learning and education against the Belém Framework for Action, adopted in 2009, on the basis of the GRALE (Global Report on Adult Learning and Education) survey; the second offers a detailed thematic analysis of participation, drawing on the survey findings, but also a wide range of other relevant sources. The findings of GRALE 4 are based on survey responses supplied by 159 countries.

Learning From Experience: Guidelines for locally sourced and cost-effective strategies for hygiene at home for people with high support needs.

World Vision/CBM Australia
May 2018

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This learning resource is the result of a partnership between World Vision Australia and CBM Australia that aims to improve inclusion of people with disabilities in World Vision’s Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) initiatives, including in Sri Lanka. The guidelines are based on experiences and observations from World Vision’s implementation of the Rural Integrated WASH 3 (RIWASH 3) project in Jaffna District, Northern Province, funded by the Australian Government’s Civil Society WASH Fund 2. The four year project commenced in 2014. It aimed to improve the ability of WASH actors to sustain services, increase adoption of improved hygiene practices, and increase equitable use of water and sanitation facilities of target communities within 11 Grama Niladari Divisions (GNDs) in Jaffna District.

To support disability inclusion within the project, World Vision partnered with CBM Australia. CBM Australia has focused on building capacities of partners for disability
inclusion, fostering connections with local Disabled People’s Organisations, and providing technical guidance on disability inclusion within planned activities. World Vision also partnered with the Northern Province Consortium of the Organizations for the Differently Abled (NPCODA) for disability assessment, technical support and capacity building on inclusion of people with disabilities in the project.

HYGIENE AT HOME FOR PEOPLE WITH HIGH SUPPORT NEEDS
This document is one of two developed in the Jaffna District and describes strategies that used to assist households and individuals in hygiene tasks at home. The strategies were designed to be low cost and were developed using locally available materials and skills in the Jaffna District of Sri Lanka.

NOTE: The development of this learning resource was funded by the Australian Government's Civil Society WASH Fund 2.

College for Students with Disabilities: A Guide for Students, Families, and Educators

Maryville University Online
March 2018

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Students with disabilities and their families have many pathways to achieve independence through higher education. First they need to know their rights and how to prepare for higher education.

There are many pathways to achieve independence through higher education, and Maryville University has created this helpful “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) to give you an idea of what to expect as you research your options.

Studying in UK as a disabled student

2018

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A brief introduction is provided about being a person with disabilities and a student in the UK. Information is given on rights, University’s office for disabled students, adjustments and scholarships and loans.

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