Inclusion of Learners With Disabilities in Higher Education: An Investigation of the Enrollment of Learners with Disability in Higher Education in Malawi
Keywords:Inclusive education, enrollment, disability, learners with disability
Vision 2063’s central focus is on the creation of “an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation” to achieve the Malawi we want. Strategically pillar number 5 of human capital development emphasizes the need for inclusive education accommodating all disadvantaged groups including but not limited to those with disability. Therefore, providing equal access and participation to all in higher education is a catalyst to an economically empowered nation since tertiary education provides the necessary empowerment for human, social and economic empowerment. Nevertheless, the literature indicates persistent multiple challenges affecting learners with disabilities leading to school dropout or exclusion from school. A record of a one percent admission rate to higher education institutions indicates a restraint from attaining education that provides empowerment to individuals and strategic placement to the lower ladder in society.
Hence, the need to investigate the enrollment of learners with disability in higher education as previous studies have mostly focused on primary and secondary school sectors and hence the need to provide a higher education perspective. Mixed methods were employed using a survey questionnaire and in-depth interviews to collect data from 125 participants who were stakeholders in higher education. The results of the study revealed that there was a low enrollment of learners with disability in institutions of higher learning which reflects a systematic exclusion that creates a social gap between those with disabilities and the rest of society. The exclusion compromises the national and continental goal of participatory creating economically empowered Malawian and African societies.
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