Lived experiences of dropouts with disabilities from Bauleni special needs school in Lusaka, Zambia.

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Mwape, Janet Kapepelesha
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The University of Zambia
This study looked at, lived experiences of dropouts with disabilities from Bauleni Special Needs School in Lusaka District of Zambia. Dropping out by learners with disabilities is a well-known phenomenon in the country of Zambia. However, few studies have looked at lived experiences of dropouts with disabilities which this study addressed. The study objectives were; to explore lived experiences of dropouts with disabilities, to establish the causes of dropouts with disabilities, and to establish the mitigation measures for abating dropout among learners with disabilities. The researcher used qualitative research approach which involves interpretation and description of the findings. Phenomenological research design which is an inductive, descriptive method was employed. The population for this study comprised dropouts with disabilities from Bauleni Special needs School for the last five (5) years, from 2015 to 2020. The sample size was fifteen (15) comprised of five (5) dropouts with disabilities, five (5) trained special education teachers one (1) head teacher, all from Bauleni Special Needs School and four (4) parents/caregivers to dropouts with disabilities. The researcher used purposive sampling technique that involved purposely hand-picking individuals from the population based on the researcher’s judgment. Semi-structured interview guide was used to collect data on the basis that one to one interviews produce in-depth data. The data collected was qualitatively analyzed using the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) method according to the themes that were guided by the objectives of the study. The key findings of the study suggested that dropouts regretted having dropped out because they lacked self-esteem, entered into early marriages, faced stigma, poverty and abuse. Further on the causes of dropping out, the study found that there was lack of sign language in the delivery of concepts, failure to pay school fees, unaccommodative infrastructure, poverty, negative attitude, and stigma among others. The study also revealed the management strategies to mitigate learners’ dropouts with disabilities which included establishment of support groups, identification of learners at risk, improvement on infrastructure to accommodate all disabilities and improve on shortage of manpower among others. The study recommended that parents and organizations for advocacy on disability should come on board to sensitize and give awareness on disability and education of people living with disabilities.
Dropouts. , Dropping out--Learners with disabilities.