Jyvaskyla University (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 2329-2336
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights stated in 1948 that “…higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit”. In terms of gender, the Millennium Goals have set 2015 as the target date to eliminate gender disparity at the tertiary level. According to the new World Report on Disability (WHO, 2011), “Women with disabilities experience gender discrimination, disabling, culture, social structure as well as poverty barriers”. Studies in Tanzania indicated that women with disabilities have not had equal access to education compared to males. The situation was caused by lack of information related to the individual needs of disabled women who were studying at the university. Researching the knowledge towards the individual support that disabled women need might facilitate the accessibility and participation of women with disabilities in Tanzanian higher education which current is are the challenging issues.

This study investigated the lived experiences and individuals support to disabled women need in order to survive comfortably at the university. The study examined the information via face- to- face interviews and a total of twenty-two disabled women at the University of Dar es Salaam were interviewed. This study reports the findings of disabled women’s lived experience and supports their need. Findings show that more effort should be put toward shaping the lived experiences of disabled women in higher education and identifies six key issues that should be given more attention. First, accessibility to new technology was the key necessity mentioned by disabled women. Second, disabled women need encouraging and interactive classroom teaching and learning. Third, commitment of by the university to facilitate barrier free curriculum, infrastructures and to develop effective support services as well as openness towards their rights. Fourth, commitments from the university to organize community awareness training for the attitudinal change towards disabled women, fifth, parents and family should create effective and appropriate environment towards their education. Lastly, the university should organize a pre-induction course for the incoming students. However, the supports they needed vary based upon the type of disabilities, to the next depending on the prevalence of the disability within the community and its impact on education.
Women, disability, individual need, support, lived experience, higher education.