Social exclusion of students with visual impairments at a tertiary institution in KwaZulu-Natal
Objectives: People with visual impairment experience exclusion and marginalisation from family, mainstream school, the community and university. The experience of social exclusion is multistructural, multidimensional and complex. This article is based on a study that aimed to describe the social exclusion of students with visual impairment at a tertiary institution where the authors are employed.
Design: The study was qualitative. It used an exploratory design to provide compelling data on the insider perspectives of students.
Setting and subjects: Fifteen students participated in the study, of whom nine were men and six women. Eleven students were partially sighted and four were blind. All the subjects were from the university where the authors are employed. Results: The study established that participants’ exclusion from access to opportunities and development left them psychologically, socially, financially and emotionally scarred. Conclusion: The study established that visual impairment and poverty were related and that women experienced oppression on two counts. The first was because of their disabled status and the second was oppression by other female students at the university. Recommendations are for changes within families, schools, communities and universities.
Keywords: social exclusion, visual impairment, oppression