Knowledge, attitudes and practices of academic and admission staff on the inclusion of students with physical disabilities in the School of Health Care Sciences at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University : An exploratory, qualitative descriptive study.
Thesis (MHumanRehabSt)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : Introduction: Inclusive higher education incorporates and welcomes all students, irrespective of their disability; in the higher education institutions (HEI) so that all are able to participate in educational opportunities. Disability is an umbrella term for physical, sensory, mental or other impairments resulting in activity limitations and participation restrictions due to a person’s contextual factors. The focus of this study was on students with physical disabilities (SWPD) that affects mobility and/or dexterity. To maintain this focus, other physically determined sensory impairments like visual and hearing disabilities were excluded. Knowledge and attitudes regarding inclusion affect the successful implementation of inclusive higher education (practice). Therefore, the aim of the study was to explore the self-reported knowledge, attitudes and practices of academic and admission staff on the inclusion of SWPD in the School of Health Care Sciences (SHCS) at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU). Methods: A qualitative descriptive study design was used in this exploratory study. The setting was the SHCS at SMU, and the study population comprised of academic and admission staff. A purposive sampling strategy was used, and the final sample consisted of 12 participants (10 academic staff and 2 admission staff). The researcher used a qualitative, semi-structured interview to collect data. Findings: The topic areas of knowledge, attitudes and practices were predetermined by the objectives of the study. Themes under each topic were generated by reflexive thematic analysis In addition, the effects of environmental factors on participants’ attitudes, were identified by inductive analysis. Conclusion: All academic staff demonstrated some knowledge of inclusive higher education while the admission staff demonstrated no knowledge. The lack of knowledge of the admission staff may imply that applications from the SWPD may not be processed in an equitable manner. Most participants’ attitudes were positive and welcomed the possibility of accommodating SWPD, but with some apprehension. This might be due to the effect of the environmental factors on inclusion as discussed. This may also imply that the inclusion of SWPD would be enhanced as more staff become positive, embrace inclusion and the environmental factors are addressed. In terms of practices, all participants noted the absence of students with physical disabilities, disability inclusion policy and Disability Unit at SMU. It may thus be concluded that SMU is currently not inclusive in terms of the recommended higher education practices.
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