Learning environment and academic participation of students with physical disabilities in higher education: The case of two Kenyan Universities
Ong’eta, Wyclife Mose
MetadataShow full item record
The aim of the study was to establish how the learning environment influences academic participation for students with physical disabilities at Kenyatta University (KU) and JomoKenyatta university of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). This study explored the access to information, attitudes, effective teaching and assessment methods. The study was guided by the social model theory of disability. It explains that it is the society which disables people with disabilities. To achieve its objective the study employed qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection which allowed for an intensive investigation into learning environment and academic participation for students with physical disabilities and provided a basis for informing better policies and planning. In addition, the investigation employed a descriptive case study design that involves detailed studies at Kenyatta and JKUAT universities. The respondents of study were 32 undergraduate students with physical disabilities, 23 university lecturers, 2 disability coordinators, 2 Tuk-tuks drivers, 2 library staff and 4 house keepers. The data collection instruments employed were: Questionnaires, structured interview schedules, observation schedules and Focus Group Discussion. Piloting of the instruments was done at the University of Nairobi which gave a correlation coefficient of 0.85 which implied that the research instruments were reliable. The information that was collected from these instruments was analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The results showed that the two universities were making a lot of efforts towards inclusivity and accessibility for all. The results also revealed that 17(52%) of students with physical disabilities revealed that the lecturers had a positive attitude towards them as well as involved them in class activities. The results further revealed that the lecture method was dominant although group discussion, paper presentation and online teaching were also used. However, the study found that time given during practical lessons and examinations was not adequate as the students ended up not completing their work. The study recommends that university administrations should promote more sensitization programmes such as seminars, sporting activities, workshops and forums in order to increase the level of awareness of the needs, aspirations and capacities of students with physical disabilities with a view to enhancing their acceptance, participation in learning activities and integration in the university communities. The study also recommends further research to be carried on learning environment and academic participation in other groups of disabilities such as hearing and visual impairments in the two universities.