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Chapter 9 Obstacles for Students with Disabilities in Accessing Higher Education in South Africa
In: Inclusion as Social Justice

Abstract

After decolonisation in African countries, it has been the agenda of the democratic governments, to include all diverse students in higher learning. This has however manifested a lot of new challenges for stakeholders in higher learning, in terms of teaching and learning specifically, to include all students, more particularly those that have been excluded in the previous colonial period. Though there have been efforts of decolonisation and transformation in teaching and learning, to include all students, change has been minimal to date. Students with disabilities in particular have been the most excluded, that even if efforts of inclusion are made in teaching and learning, they have remained excluded. This empirical chapter uses decolonial theory, to critically examine teaching and learning of students with disabilities in one institution of higher learning in South Africa. It is so as to understand the hidden underlying reasons, why those students continue to be excluded. The finding is that on surface levels, issues of inaccessible infrastructure, lack of adequate funding, not disclosing of disabilities by students with disabilities, unwillingness of faculty member to include those students and their ignorance in teaching different categories of disabilities, have been put forward as the reason for the exclusion of the particular students in teaching and learning. However, the reasons for exclusion are far deeper than those seen at surface levels. The chapter seeks to expose the underlying reasons, which are not seen at surface levels. It seeks to contribute to the current undergoing debates on transformation, and inclusive pedagogy, that unless the invisible and hidden underlying causes of exclusion are exposed, teaching and learning will continue to exclude students with disabilities specifically and other social groups that have been formerly excluded, as Blacks and women, in South African higher learning in particular and in higher learning in Africa broadly.

In: Mediating Learning in Higher Education in Africa
This book presents useful insights on the regeneration of curricula and pedagogies with a particular focus on universities in South Africa and Africa in general. Transformative Curricula, Pedagogies and Epistemologies: Teaching and Learning in Diverse Higher Education Contexts further explores the state of teaching and learning in different contexts, together with the emerging challenges and responsibilities that African higher education in the twenty first century is faced with. The analysis is put in light of the assumptions borrowed from the West, for Western epistemologies and pedagogies are still dominant. Instead, the book presents a case on the need for rethinking pedagogies and epistemologies within African higher education that include African culture, values, ethics, and indigenous knowledge. The new obligations of inclusive education, decolonisation, transformation, and academic and professional experiences are of paramount importance for contemporary higher education.

Valuable ideas about practices and policies in epistemological and pedagogical transformative mechanisms are discussed which can be used to inform a decolonised teaching and learning curriculum most suitable for an African higher education system. Above all, the book goes beyond mere narratives, as it explores decolonisation strategies suitable for transforming pedagogical and epistemological practices that include the education system as a whole.