The Need for Occupational Therapy (OT) Services in Zimbabwean Urban Mainstream Schools in the Context of Inclusive Education: A Cross Sectional Descriptive Pilot Study

  • Nyasha Beremauro Hartman House Preparatory School
  • Tecla Mlambo University of Zimbabwe

Abstract

The Zimbabwean government endorsed inclusive education in all mainstream learning institutions in the country. This pilot study sought to determine if they are challenges encountered by mainstream primary school teachers in their interaction with their pupils, teachers’ perspective of the challenges, in any, that can be addressed by occupational therapy (OT) services, and whether there are significant differences between private and public schools with regards to the encountered challenges. A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted with primary school teachers stratified by school type and grade. Data was collected using a pre-tested, self-administered questionnaire. Permission was granted by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and school heads. Ethical clearance was granted (JREC: 292/16 and MRCZ (MRCZ/B/1160). Thirty-two teachers participated in the study with the majority being female (84.4%). The mean age of participants was 44.6 years (SD 9.8) and mean years of teaching experience was 19.5 years (SD 10.6). A high proportion of teachers reported encountering children with gross motor, fine motor, visual perception, auditory language, tactile sensation and emotional problems. These were 75 - 100% in private schools, and 43.8 - 93.8% in public schools. Teachers from both settings encountered problems in similar magnitudes except for fine motor and auditory language where a higher proportion was reported in private schools (p< 0.05). The majority of teachers indicated that the problems could be addressed by OT services. A high and similar proportion of teachers from private and public mainstream primary schools reported encountering problems that could benefit from OT services. The study therefore recommends that services should be availed in these settings in order to maximise the benefits of inclusive education.

Author Biographies

Nyasha Beremauro , Hartman House Preparatory School

Teacher, Hartman House Preparatory School, Harare

Tecla Mlambo, University of Zimbabwe

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Rehabilitation Sciences Unit

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eISSN: 1013-3445