Exploring barriers in accessing university education by hearing impaired students: A case study of Makerere and Kyambogo Universities
Kyazze, Ssanyu Edward
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The study explored the barriers in accessing university education by hearing impaired students using Kyambogo and Makerere Universities as a case study. The study employed a qualitative research approach using a case study design since it is suitable for detailed analysis of a situation. The study had input from 28 key participants who were selected using purposive, snowball and convenience sampling techniques. Data was collected using focus group discussions and interviews. The study was to identify the barriers faced by hearing impaired students (HIS) in Makerere and Kyambogo Universities and to investigate coping strategies used by hearing impaired students at the two Universities in dealing with their academic and social barriers, and which also examined mechanisms that are used to support the teaching and learning of Hearing impaired students It was found out that, Hearing Impaired Students (HIS) at a university experience a range of barriers and frustrations, some of which included, social isolation within the universities, difficulties in note taking, identifying and paying for interpretation services among others. In addition, private hearing impaired students suffer the most. More so, Uganda has no specific university for Students With Disabilities (SWDs). However, with the provision of support services from fellow peers, university and external world; HIS have managed to cope with university education. The study concludes by noting that, HIS face a number of barriers that are either institutional, social cultural or attitudinal but with the provision of a series of support services within the universities to enable (HIS) to move on the same pace with their hearing peers. Creating an enabling environment gives hope for addressing such barriers. However, this requires a philosophical shift towards a Universal Instructional System that incorporates students of different abilities. This would enable access to education by HIS to take its natural course. since meeting the needs of HIS goes beyond addressing issues of campus climate and student life to examine the culture of learning and teaching, This therefore requires attitudinal change and our critical obligation is to expand our notions of whom and what represents successful learning. In-service training to university key staffs, awareness workshops, sign language interpreters monitoring system, free services to all HIS, promotion of sign language education, establishment of a disability based university and English lessons for HIS are the study recommendations. The culture of teaching and learning vice- versa needs of HIS; impact of an integrated education system on successful accessibility and completion of HIS and public investment in the education of HIS emerged as areas that require further research.