Accessibility and participation in Tanzanian higher education from the perspectives of women with disabilities
This study investigated how women with disabilities participate in higher education and what enables them to succeed in their studies. The Social Model of Disability (SMD) guided the study because it emphasises the removal of barriers which continue to exclude and marginalize women with disabilities from social, cultural and economic opportunities, including education. To support the model, this study was conducted at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in Tanzania to establish the challenges and opportunities that facilitated the women with disabilities to enrol at the university. The study involved 22 women with disabilities who managed to enrol at the UDSM, regardless of their types of disabilities, degree programmes or backgrounds. The assumption behind this study was that women with disabilities experience various challenges which originate from their families, communities and institutions. The interest to focus on women with disabilities studying at the UDSM was based on the understanding that those women were among the few who managed to obtain a place at the university despite these challenges. Thus, the study intended to establish the potential motivation, factors and strategies which enabled them to succeed in higher education. The study employed qualitative methodology using semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis was also used to analyze the data. The findings of the study showed that women with disabilities who succeeded in getting a university placement were highly motivated to participate in higher education and believed that education was important for their social mobility and empowerment. The positive attitudes of some of their family and community members highly motivated the women with disabilities to participate in higher education. While there were motivation and positive attitudes from some family members, the most disappointing issue for these women was their social marginalization. At the university, these women’s main challenges were inaccessible learning and physical environments. Attending more than one informal group discussion was reported to be the key strategy of the majority of the women for overcoming the challenges associated with the learning environment at the university. The study concludes that accessibility and participation of women with disabilities in education depend on social attitude change, an enabling and encouraging university environment and family support. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
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- Väitöskirjat