Volume 10 Issue 2 (2021)

Pre-primary Education for Children who Experience Disabilities in Tanzania: Practices and Constraints

pp. 139-156  |  Published Online: December 2021  |  DOI: 10.22521/unibulletin.2021.102.3

Juhudi K. Cosmas

Abstract

Background/purpose – There is consistent evidence that children who experience disabilities benefit from being included in pre-primary programs and other levels of education. This study focused on assessing the practices and barriers of pre-primary education for children who experience disabilities in two districts in Lindi Region, Tanzania.

Materials/methods – The study was a qualitative inquiry underpinned by collective case study design. A sample of 20 participants was purposefully involved. The data were collected through individual in-depth interviews and focus group discussions.

Results – While pre-primary education was provided to children who experience disabilities, macro- and micro-exclusion persisted because of ableism practices within the education system. Efforts towards upholding the rights of all children were impeded by ableism thinking which resulted into macro- and micro-exclusion. Additional barriers included lack of identification and assessment practices, lack of nutrition and medical services, negative and discriminatory practices, shortage of qualified teachers, inappropriate instructional materials, lack of professional and parental support, and inaccessible school environment.

Conclusion – Notably, pre-primary education for children who experience disabilities was provided within a difficult environment that requires immediate intervention. Critical to addressing all barriers is recognizing and disestablishing ableism thinking within the education system.

Keywords: Ableism, disability, exclusion, inclusive education, pre-primary education.

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