Views and experiences of children with disabilities and their parents regarding school attendance
Kuaka, Kennedy Born
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A number of children with physical disabilities are not attending school in Zambia, despite the endorsement of the 1996 by UNESCO “Education Our Future” that provides children with disabilities the right to be educated with their peers in public schools. The aim of the study was to explore the views and experiences of children with physical disabilities and their parents towards school attendance of children with disabilities. The study setting was in Mazabuka, Zambia. The study population was children with physical disabilities who were not attending school and their parents. A sample of 19 participants was purposefully selected. A qualitative approach was used to explore the participants‟ attitudes, cultural beliefs, and challenges related to school attendance of children with physical disabilities. A content analysis approach was used for data analysis after translating and transcribing raw data from Tonga into English. The data were coded, categorized and themes of the content identified. Ethical procedures included, obtaining permission from the University of Western Cape, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services in Zambia and Rural Health Centre. Signed consent from parents, consent from parents stating that their children can participate and assent from children was obtained. Anonymity and confidentiality of participants was emphasized and participants were reminded that their participation was voluntary. Participants had the freedom to withdraw without any prejudice. The results indicated positive attitudes of children and their parents towards school attendance of children with disabilities. The traditional and religious beliefs of parents did not influence or contribute to children with disabilities not attending school. The main reason why most children with physical disabilities were not attending school in Mazabuka district was due to physical and social barriers.