Voices, disability and inclusion : a case study of students’ narrated learning experiences : focus on service provision and support for disabled students in higher education in Zimbabwe
Phiri, Partson Musosa
Thesis or dissertation
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The provision of special education for disabled students has seemingly improved in African countries during the past decade (UNESCO, 1997) and more options for studies are being offered. Although a number of disabled students enrol in universities, there seems to be a lack of appropriate action in providing equal opportunities for them. In general, higher educational institutions are not well prepared to accommodate disabled students, although there are exceptions.
Many universities around the world, are already accommodating disabled students, and are progressively embracing principles of inclusion, as the diverse student body has increasingly begun to challenge the previously assumed approaches to meeting their service provisions and support. The adoption of the UNESCO, Salamanca Framework and the Dakar Framework for Action at the two World Conferences in 1994 and 2000 respectively, affirmed the notion of Inclusive Education as one fundamental key strategy to address issues of support, provisions marginalization and exclusion in education. The Frameworks brought challenges on higher education, in particular, in terms of strategic planning to ensure compliance, as well as redefining how provisions may be organised to better meet the needs of students. Within this context, concerns about the student experience have also become more prominent, with questions about support and service provision for disabled students being raised.
In recent years, emphasis has been placed on exploring how students can contribute to their own learning and the development of educational practice. However, less emphasis has been given on how disabled students can contribute to policy reform in educational settings.
This thesis explored aspects of contributions of disabled students in a higher education institution in Zimbabwe regarding issues of provision and support for inclusion. This is an area that deserves investigation not only at the micro level, but at the meso (national) levels of nation states, because it provides a potential platform to think more strategically about inclusive policies and practices.
Notably, very little is known in Zimbabwe, about disabled students’ experiences of inclusion in higher education. It has been observed that describing experiences of disabled students without consulting the students themselves is not an easy task (UNESCO, 1997). The implication of this therefore, is that disabled students’ voices need to be sought. It was therefore, through such a case study that disabled students’ voices were engaged in order to get to know a bit about these students’ experiences in a higher educational institute. The findings of this study therefore, seemed to indicate that attempts at inclusion in higher education in Zimbabwe are not supported by appropriate attitudes, motivation and adequacy of services and provisions which policy and legislation should undergird.
- Centre for Educational Studies, The University of Hull
- Plowright, David
- Qualification level
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