Exploring the experiences of students with physical impairments studying at a Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in Kwazulu-Natal.
Ntombela, Bongani Praisegod.
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The study attempts to respond to three research questions: How do students with physical impairments experience studying at a TVET College in KZN? What are the perceptions of students with physical impairments about this TVET College as a learning environment? What support does the institution offer for students with physical impairments studying at this TVET College? This qualitative study is positioned within an interpretivist paradigm and employs a case study research approach. Only four participants were interviewed. A case study emphasises that even one candidate is enough as long as an in-depth study can be done. Observations and semi-structured individual interviews were the main data collection tools used in the study and were used to explore the key research questions focusing on experiences and attitudes experienced by students with physical impairments at a TVET College environment. To answer the above questions, I examined whether resources were provided for students with physical challenges at a TVET College, the use of learner support services, infrastructure accessibility, community support and institutional support. This research study was conducted with students who were physically impaired only. Purposive sampling was used. The sample of the population included four participants who were physically impaired and who were registered in one college. Furthermore, participants comprised one female and three males who were doing different levels at the college, that is, NCV, NQF level two to level three and Nated 5 student. This study explored the experiences of students with physical impairments studying at a TVET College in KwaZulu-Natal in order for the College to meet these students’ academic needs. The study was conducted in one TVET College in Northern Natal. The conclusion and implications of the study indicated that there is inaccessibility of buildings, inadequate support from student support services and a lack of assistive devices for students with physical impairments. However, students with physical impairments showed a positive attitude toward learning, irrespective of the challenges they faced. Other findings suggest that the senior College management and student support services should do everything possible to create an environment in which students with physical impairments feel welcome and part of a community which embraces diversity and willingly accommodates their differences. All relevant role players at TVET Colleges should collaborate to overcome barriers, for example (name a few from your study), provide suitable access to buildings and endeavour to meet their academic, social and emotional needs thereby enabling them to attain their full academic development.