Disability and support for visually impaired students in South African engineering programmes

Sheethal L. Tom, Noluntu Mpekoa, Arthur J. Swart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Visual impairment limits equitable access in society due to activity limitation and participation restriction. For students with disabilities in tertiary institutions, a lack of necessary support can render them academically excluded, especially if institutions are not equipped for the required assistance to these learners. This may imply that institutions have no effective framework to accommodate these learners on their campus. The purpose of this article is to review the perceptions of disability units at tertiary institutions in South Africa concerning current challenges faced by visually impaired learners in engineering programmes, thereby determining a need for such a framework. Qualitative responses were obtained through on-line questionnaires, which were distributed to 20 tertiary institutions, yielding a 25% response rate. Lack of funds, lack of resources, poor infrastructure and lack of trained lecturers were the key challenges raised by the disability units. It is recommended that tertiary institutions seek to address these challenges faced by visually impaired learners, so that they too may contribute to the socio-economic development of South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-351
Number of pages6
JournalWorld Transactions on Engineering and Technology Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Disability and support for visually impaired students in South African engineering programmes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this