The Inclusion of Visually Impaired and Physically Impaired Students in Ethiopian Public Higher Education Institutions: the Case of Addis Ababa University

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Addis Ababa University


This study uncovered the policy environment and the practice of inclusion in Ethiopian public higher education institutions in pat1icular focuses to Addis Ababa University, This research fo llowed a sequential exploratory mixed design that is predominantly governed by qualitative enquiry and supported by the quantitative approach, Accordingly, this study used in-depth and semi-structured interviews, questionnaire, focus group di scussion, document analysis and observation, In this study, 17 key informants (8 cases, 3 higher officials from Ministry of Education, 4 uni versity officials and 2 chair students from visually impaired and physically impaired studen ts ' associat ions of the uni versi ty), 59 physically impaired and visually impaired stud ents, 63 non-di sabled students and 39 teachers. The study used different instruments to support and triangu late the qualitati ve data which was obtained from the key informants. Similar l11ajor findings were obtained almost from all the participants. Both the qualitative data and the quantitative data unmasked the problem. Inadequate strategic and practical concerns, absence of university legis lation on disability issues, serio us inaccessibility problems and attitude based exclusions were the major findings of the study. Physical inaccessibility related to buildings and their respective faci lities and academic inadaptability were found to be the recurring themes. Lack of awareness, negative attitude, lack of policy at the university level and insufficient coml11itment were some of the causes to the problem. A workable national policy environl11ent was also discovered in the study. The need for considerable concern toward the strongest sense of inclusion both at national and institutional leve ls, national strategic programs, higher ed ucat ion quality assurance standards and a uni versity legislation emanated from the Higher Education Proclamation 650/2009 were SOl11e of the major recommendations.