Including learners with visual impairments in a Namibian mainstream secondary school

Zulch-Knouwds, Tanya-May (2010-03)

Thesis (MEdPsych (Educational Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

ENGLISH SUMMARY: The research problem of this study is how learners with visual impairments are included in a Namibian mainstream secondary school. This study is important since Namibia is new in the inclusion process of learners with visual impairments. This process was made a priority by the Ministry of Education in Namibia since a special school for the blind in Namibia only offers education up to Grade 10. With this study I aimed to analyse and describe how a group of learners with visual impairments were included in a mainstream secondary school. I therefore aimed to analyse the nature of support as well as the adaptations and accommodations made for the learners with visual impairments; and describe the culture and context of the school community using the opinions and experiences of the participants in the study. In order to obtain the opinions and experiences of the participants in a detailed, descriptive and in-depth manner, I designed a qualitative case study with a mainstream secondary school where the learners with visual impairments were integrated as the „bounded system‟. I purposefully selected the participants and used semi-structured interviews, non-participant observation, and the gathering of artefacts in order to obtain in-depth and rich data from multiple perspectives. From the research it was found that even though the learners with visual impairments are now physically integrated in the mainstream classes, they are not yet truly included. The teaching methods and materials are not adequately adapted for them and the physical environments within the classes and school grounds are also not yet truly accessible for them. The teachers are not adequately supported and trained, and the parents of most of the learners with visual impairments as well as the community are not involved in the learners‟ schooling. The school needs relevant resources as well as a change of attitudes – teachers and peers are often negative towards the learners with visual impairments and do not understand the rationale behind inclusive education. However, there are exceptions to this – the Grade 11 class of 2009 have accepted the learners with visual impairments in contrast to the classes before them. Finally, the policies that were developed by the country do not provide clear and practical guidelines of how to make inclusive education a reality in Namibia. I hope that the findings of this study will be of valuable use to the particular school and to the Ministry of Education with regard to the school‟s progress in the inclusion of the learners with visual impairments. Key Concepts: inclusion, disability, impairments, visual impairment, visual disability, blindness, and partially sighted.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die navorsingsprobleem van hierdie studie is hoe leerders met gesiggestremdhede ingesluit word in „n hoofstroom sekondêre skool in Namibië. Die navorsing is belangrik aangesien inklusiewe onderwys „n nuwe innovasie in Namibië is. Die insluitingvan leerders met gesiggestremdhede was „n prioriteit van die Ministerie van Onderwys, aangesien die skool vir blindes in Namibië (Windhoek) net onderrig verskaf van Graad 1 tot Graad 10. Die Graad 11 en 12 leerders moes dus vanaf 2006 ingesluit word in „n hoofstroom sekondêre skool. Met hierdie studie het ek beoog om die konsep van inklusie asook die beleidsdokumente aangaande inklusie in Namibië te analiseer; om die tipe asook die wyse van ondersteuning vir hierdie groep leerders met gesiggestremdhede te analiseer en beskryf; en om die kultuur en konteks van die skool te beskryf met behulp van die perspektiewe en ondervindinge van die deelnemers in my studie. Ek het„n kwalitatiewe gevallestudie ontwerp om „n ryk, digte beskrywing te verseker. Die deelnemers is doelbewus gekies ten einde in-diepte en spesifieke perspektiewe en ondervindinge te verkry. Die metodes wat gebruik is vir data-insameling sluit semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude, nie-deelnemende waarneming en dokumente-analise in. Hierdie studie het bevind dat alhoewel die leerders met gesiggestremdhede fisies in die hoofstroomklasse geïntegreer is, hul nog nie waarlik ingesluit word in die hoofstroomskool nie. Die onderrigmetodes word nie genoegsaam aangepas nie en die leerders benodig meer hulpbronne en toerusting om gehalte leer te verseker. Die onderwysers het nie voldoende opleiding om kinders met gesiggestremdhede te onderrig nie en die ouers van die leerders met gesigsgestremdheid en gemeenskap is nie genoeg betrokke by die skool en die leerders nie. Nie die klaskamers of die skoolgronde is toegangklik vir die leerders met gesiggestremdhede nie en die houdings van beide onderwysers en leerders is met enkele uitsonderings negatief teenoor die leerders met gesiggestremdhede. Ten slotte, die nasionale beleidsdokumente aangaande inklusie gee nie praktiese maniere hoe om inklusiewe onderwys „n werkliheid te maak nie. Ek hoop dat die bevindinge van hierdie studie van waarde sal wees vir die spesifieke skool asook vir die Ministerie van Onderwys in die ontwikkeling van inklusiewe onderwys. Sleutelkonsepte: Inklusie, gestremdheid, beperking, gesiggestremdheid, visuele beperking, blindheid, en swak sig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/2060
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