Disguised Blessings amid Covid‑19: Opportunities and Challenges for South African University Students with Learning Disabilities

  • Ndakaitei Manase

Abstract

The Covid‑19 pandemic has led to changes from traditional face-to-face teaching and learning to  online systems. These changes have resulted in a concerted focus by local and international scholars  on how some students are disadvantaged from accessing pedagogy due to a lack of resources and  supportive living conditions that enable meaningful off‑campus learning. Simultaneously, disabilities  in higher education is getting  international attention, too, highlighting how students with disabilities  are vulnerable to further exclusions and mental health problems. This  rticle  focuses on the pedagogical arrangements during the Covid‑19 pandemic and the challenges and opportunities associated with online and remote learning for university students with learning disabilities. The article draws on the narratives of fifteen students with learning disabilities from a university in South Africa. An analysis of students’ narratives within the Capability Approach’s concept of conversion factors revealed how circumstances could enable or constrain students’ abilities to achieve what they value in higher education. Students’ narratives show that they engage better with online and remote learning despite some notable challenges. In conclusion, the pedagogical arrangements aimed at alleviating the disruptions caused by the Covid‑19 pandemic can address the unmet educational needs of students with learning disabilities even though they have to overcome specific barriers.

Published
2021-11-10
Section
Research Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 2307-6267