Challenges experienced by learners with visual impairments in South African township mainstream primary schools
Diversity in education is not about different races only; in the South African context it also refers, for instance, to types of schools or different learning styles. Inclusivity in education thus refers to all learners, regardless of their abilities, being noticed and encouraged to share and learn in the same space. However, the South African education system is still struggling to ensure that learners with disabilities, especially those with visual impairment, are fully catered for in mainstream schools. In the study reported on here a qualitative research methodology was used to collect data through semi-structured interviews and observations with selected participants to explore challenges experienced by partially sighted learners in mainstream schools. It was found that even though learners with visual impairment are now physically integrated in mainstream classes, they are not truly included. Furthermore, teacher training should be enhanced, and teacher support reviewed while involving parents of visually impaired learners in their children’s schooling.
Keywords: full-service school; inclusion; inclusive education; mainstream school; partially sighted; township school; visual impairment