The experiences of the physically disabled students in the TVET College.
Mbense, Sizwe Absai.
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The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences of students with disabilities in a form of a case study at a Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College with more focus on the factors that impact both negative and positive in their studies. The study had four research participants who are physically disabled students in the TVET College, two with multiple disabilities and the two with visual impairments. The study employed the social model of disability with an inclusive method to education. The methodology used in the study is a qualitative approach within a critical paradigm. Interviews, life histories, pictures and observation are the methods used to collect data and ensure a better understanding of the case in the TVET College in question. The themes within the data were analysed through the thematic content analysis. Implicit and explicit ideas within the data were revealed. The findings were classified into three developing themes of othering, academic ableism and poverty which were established by some minor themes. Through the study, it was found that students’ individual attitudes such as self-determination, self-advocacy, being positive and intrinsic motivation were the main enablers for learning and the parental and lecturer care was found to be the facilitators of success, development and improvement. Physical, economic, social and epistemic were the main barriers to access and success. These findings were descriptive of forms of subjugation and side-lining of an ableist TVET College. Students with disabilities were labelled as abnormal as they were expected to do like their able-bodied peers without assistive devices. It was not considered that the environment was also a barrier that prevented them from moving the college buildings. The impaired students were referred to as “other.” They were subhuman, disempowered and devalued. The negative attitudes of peers were identified as the main barrier to their learning experiences. When I embarked with the study it was recommended that the TVET College assist the students with disabilities by providing the suitable learning materials, providing resources and developing inclusive attitudes among both staff and students funding, inclusive education training for the lecturers as per legislation, accessible buildings, flexible curriculum that that economic matching.