Personal Experiences of Hearing-impaired People in Higher Education in Zimbabwe

  • P. Mutswanga Zimbabwe Open University
  • T. Chataika University of Zimbabwe


This qualitative paper analyses the personal experiences of hearing-impaired people in accessing, participating and completing higher education in Zimbabwe, and the authors’ experiences in the education of students with disabilities. A 6As’ framework is informed by the 4As framework of Tomaševski (2001), namely availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability, and the 2As that we added, that is, affordability and accountability. We used the 6As framework to make sense of personal experiences of hearing-impaired people in higher education in Zimbabwe. This article is also guided by the ubuntu philosophy. Participants were identified to take part in narratives, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions using the snowballing sampling technique. These data collection methods provided a platform to elicit experiences from aspiring university hearing-impaired students, those in training, as well as graduates. Based on the participants’ personal experiences and reviewed literature, as well as our own personal experiences, we feel that the 6As framework is fundamental to enabling hearing-impaired people to accessing and completing university education in Zimbabwe. We therefore recommend universities to adopt the 6As framework as a way of improving hearing-impaired people’s access, participation and attainment of higher education qualifications.

Author Biographies

P. Mutswanga, Zimbabwe Open University
Senior lecturer, Department of Disability Studies and Special Needs Education
T. Chataika, University of Zimbabwe
Senior lecturer, Department of Educational Foundations

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1013-3445