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The purpose of this study was to determine
the psychosocial environmental barriers to school attendance by children with
disabilities in Rwanda. A quantitative, cross-sectional, descriptive study was
conducted in one urban and one rural community-based rehabilitation centre.
There was a sample of 94 parents or caregivers of children with disabilities
who were not attending school. A structured closed-ended questionnaire was
used. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) (15.0 version) was
used for data analysis. The data analysis included descriptive statistics as
frequency distributions and percentages. The data werepresented in the forms of cross-tables.
CHI-Square was used to determine the association between variables. The level
of significance (alpha) was set at 0.05. The findings indicate that in Rwanda
there is a negative attitude among parents/caregivers and the community towards
children with disabilities. Many parents/caregivers reported that having a
child with a disability is a burden and
shame in their families. A great proportion of parents/caregivers also
indicated that, if they needed to make a choice, they would prioritise
education for their child without the disability over their child with the
disability. The majority reported the special school to be their first choice
for their children with disabilities. Others reported that the community gave their children different abusive names.
About the teachers’
attitude, a high proportion of parents/caregivers said that the teachers told
them that their children had to go to the schools for other children with
disabilities. Awareness creation and attitudinal
change about disability issues are needed in
Rwandese society to promote schooling for children with disabilities for the
successful Education for All goals.