Experiences of students with disabilities admitted under affirmative action scheme in public universities, Uganda a case of two public universities
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The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of students with disabilities admitted under affirmative action scheme in public universities, Uganda: A case of Makerere and Kyambogo public universities. The experiences were those that related to all processes that students interacted with from admission to staff attitudes. The objectives of the study were; experiences of students with disabilities admitted under affirmative action, challenges faced by students with disabilities and supportive mechanisms in place to enhance their access to learning and participation. A qualitative research paradigm was preferred in which a case study was used. Focus group discussions were used to gather data. The study participants were twenty-one (21), all of which were purposely selected. Categories of students with disabilities comprised those with visual, hearing, physical impairment and other conditions/ unseen disabilities. A number of experiences and challenges were identified. Main challenges were on financial constraints, accessing the physical environment of some university buildings, lack of disability friendly facilities, shortage of technological devices and not being well versed in utilizing the technological devices, failure to modify study materials, attitudinal barriers, university administration, communication barrier and examination writing challenges. Focusing on details of challenges faced, shows that students had limited access to support services because of financial constraints. Students with physical impairments were finding it difficult to reach the administrative Offices as there were no lifts and the offices could only be reached by stairs. Both staff members and students needed more staff development on accessing information technologically and change of attitudes. The institutions and students lacked technological equipment such as computers and other hardware and software to have a sound backup system. Study materials were only partially modified for the visually impaired. The study also gave a conclusion and recommends that a lot more needs to be done in assisting students with varied forms of disability. Therefore, the study recommended among others; increment of the enrollment of students with disabilities under the scheme, Institutionalization of affirmative action, strengthening and operationalising university policies on students with disabilities, implementation of a quota system.