<imgsrc=”” border=”0″ align=”left” alt=”image”>Objective:
This review sought to collect and synthesize studies that investigated the lived experience of barriers and facilitators to educational access and excellence for students with disabilities in low- and middle-income African countries.
Access to education in low- and middle-income African countries for students with disabilities is often inequitable. Although governments have developed policies and programs for student with disabilities, much of the literature guiding policy and program development has focused on the views of academics, parents, teachers, and political figures.
This systematic review considered studies that included participants who were students or trainees at the time of the study, have a disability, and were located in a low- and middle- income African country. The phenomena of interest were barriers and facilitators of educational success for students with disabilities. This review included qualitative, interpretive, and critical studies that drew on the experiences of students with disabilities.
An initial search was conducted in CINAHL and MEDLINE, followed by development of a full search strategy was then used for AMED, Embase, CINAHL, Global Health, MEDLINE, and Epub Ahead of Print, In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Daily and Versions, spanning from 1910-2021. Articles were limited to those published in English. The JBI approach was followed for study selection, critical appraisal, data extraction, data synthesis, and assessing confidence in the findings with ConQual.
Thirteen qualitative studies were included from seven African countries, and included primary, secondary and postsecondary students. The data were qualitatively synthesized into 64 findings, within six categories, which then formed two synthesized findings. The synthesized findings were: barriers and challenges to engaging in education and supports for educational success.
This review is a synthesis of the lived experiences of students with disabilities in low- and middle-income African countries to understand, in their own words, the challenges and supports they encounter during their educational journeys. Although many barriers and supports reported by students with disabilities and other stakeholders (eg, parents, teachers, administrators) are similar to those identified in this review, our findings identify that integrated research that includes students with disabilities will provide contextual and individual factors that are crucial for students to achieve equitable access to education.
Systematic review registration number: