Educating Students with Disabilities in Inclusive Schools: Results from Two Schools in Tanzania
Authors: Joseph Reginard Milinga
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The quest for equal access, participation and success in education for persons with disabilities is paramount in today’s global education context, and Tanzania is no exception. Since the ages of “denial” to “full inclusion”, educating students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms has had been responded differently by teachers and students alike across countries. Confronted by different challenges in their education, students with disabilities are to devise mechanisms to excel in such restrictive learning environments. Informed by interpretive research traditions with 59 purposefully selected participants, this paper explores challenges that students with disabilities are faced with and coping strategies used by these students in their schooling in two inclusive secondary schools in Tanzania. The findings indicate that, students with disabilities are faced with challenges which are teacher and environment-related. Consequently, the students with disabilities use complaints, assistance seeking, self-initiatives, isolation and despair, and assertiveness to cope with the challenges. The study concludes that; educational stakeholders should work collaboratively in order to lessen the impact of the restrictive nature of learning environments for students with disabilities. The paper recommends on improved teacher preparation and continued professional development in order to cater for the learning needs of students with disabilities in inclusive schools.