n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Investigating the psychosocial challenges and socio-economic backgrounds of learners with disabilities at the University of Venda, South Africa : social psychology

Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Learners with disabilities do not only incur various challenges in their learning encounters, but their presence also places a heavy burden and demands on institutions of higher education that practice inclusive education system. Disability in any form or shape is a phenomenon that incurs social, emotional and learning problems. This study sought to investigate the psychosocial challenges and socio-economic backgrounds of learners with disabilities at the University of Venda in the Limpopo province of South Africa. The study employed a descriptive cross-sectional quantitative design where self-administered questionnaires were used to collect data. Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19 as well as the Microsoft Excel. From the results, 50.7% were males; more than 50% of the participants came from either poor or very poor socio-economic backgrounds. Among the participants the morbidity impaired (41.8%) were in majority while almost two-thirds (64.2%) of the participants indicated that they were born with their condition. 27.3% said they required regular medical attention and 9.0% indicated that they had to depend on others for their daily routines and assistance on campus. About a third 21 (32.8%) of the respondents reported being verbally abused as compared with other forms of abuses such as physical abuse 3 (4.5%) and rape 2 (3.0%). Though about three-quarters 49 (74.2%) of the respondents said they enjoyed special treatment as a result of their disabilities, 25 (38.5%) and 21 (32.8%) indicated they experienced discrimination and stigmatisation as well as security/safety fears respectively. These findings suggest that learners with disabilities face a number of psycho-socio-demographic challenges in the learning institution that hinder their full participation in the institutional life. The study, therefore, recommends that institutions of higher education must provide adequate social support for learners with disabilities whilst at the same time create a climate free of discrimination and attitudinal barriers.

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