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Inclusion of disabled students in higher education in Zimbabwe : from idealism to reality - a social ecosystem perspective

Chataika, Tsitsi (2007) Inclusion of disabled students in higher education in Zimbabwe : from idealism to reality - a social ecosystem perspective. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Inclusion of disabled students in higher education has been gathering momentum in various countries, although until recently, it has not been under the spotlight. This study was born because of the absence of research on personal experiences of disabled students in higher education in Zimbabwe. The study's major object was to investigate the current provision for disabled students in higher education in Zimbabwe. Narrative research and ethnography are the methodologies that informed this study. Fifteen University of Zimbabwe disabled students were the main informants of this study. Inevitably, the study took into cognisance, the researcher's vast personal and professional experience, and diverse views from other scholars through a comprehensive literature review. The study established that attitudes and disability awareness could be either catalysts or obstacles to inclusion. Institutional barriers that incorporate physical access, inappropriate application and admission procedures, inappropriate teaching methods, inadequate support services and resources, and most importantly - absence of legislation and political will, hampered participation of disabled students in higher education in Zimbabwe. Lack of coordinated disability activism among disabled people's organisations was also reported in this study. It was from these research outcomes that the researcher constructed the social ecosystem framework, which embodied the theoretical resources, namely, postcolonial theory, globalisation, disability studies and inclusive education. Critical determinants in the applicability and effective use of the social ecosystem framework in promoting the inclusion of disabled students in higher education in Zimbabwe and beyond were identified. These include enabling socio-cultural beliefs, genuine family and community support, stable political and economic climate, appropriate legislation and political will, appropriate/accessible information and technology, self-belief, proactive disability activism, and sustainable partnerships. Conclusions drawn and practical recommendations were made to various stakeholders in the education of disabled students in higher education. Finally, the research study also signposted areas for further research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2013 10:02
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3606

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