Transition from school to the world of work : experiences of individuals with physical disabilities from a special school in KwaZulu-Natal.
With the move in South Africa towards equal employment opportunities in the open labour market, schools as well as business face the challenge of preparing individuals with disabilities for successful transition from school to work. This study examined the extent to which schools and business are working towards helping with this transition process for the disabled. The study explored how individuals with physical disabilities, who have moved into the open labour market, have experienced vocational transition planning at school level, and whether or not these programmes have adequately prepared them for the workplace. The study used a qualitative research methodology. The sample comprised 5 learners who had attended a special needs school in KwaZulu-Natal. The data collection techniques used were semi-structured interviews, which were audio-taped, and transcribed. The findings indicate that the principles of human rights and social justice for all citizens enshrined in policy documents that have emerged in South Africa since 1994, have not been translated into practice. The rights of individuals with disabilities to achieve equality of opportunity and equal access to service in society and their right to full citizenship continues to be violated. The results also revealed that, although the special needs school was concerned with developing relevant curriculum for students with disabilities, very little is done to prepare students for transition from school to the work environment. The study has revealed that students with disabilities require a far more structured, needs driven vocational transition programme, that will enable them to compete more favourably with their able bodied colleagues in the work place. Legislation must be developed to protect and guarantee the vocational transition services of students with disabilities. This legislation must be augmented by an administrative framework to ensure the smooth management and running of a national vocational transition programme.