Article | Open Access
Transport and Access to Inclusive Education in Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe
Abstract: Lack of accessible transportation is considered a major barrier to education for children with disabilities—children already far less likely to attend school. While millions of children face challenges with getting to school, including long distances, poor roads, lack of transport and safety issues, these can be compounded for children with disabilities. Yet there is little data from low and middle-income countries on the nature and extent of this exclusion, or on attempted solutions. This paper explores some practical options for improving transport as part of providing inclusive education for children with disabilities in low income countries, as well applying concepts of transport-related social exclusion in such contexts. The paper reviews a project designed to improve sustainable transportation to school for children with disabilities in four districts in Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe. The most common solution was three wheel motorbikes (tricycles) with trailers. Whilst not been unproblematic, teachers, parents and the wider communities overwhelmingly agree that they have supported children with disabilities to attend school. Obviously tricycles are not the only component needed for an inclusive education system, but they are a start. The paper also highlights some crucial gaps in current approaches, key among which is the fact the most government departments work in silos. Whilst inclusive education is strongly supported by the Zimbabwean Government, there is a lack of joined up thinking between transport and education ministries. Without stronger collaboration across ministries children with disabilities will continue to experience avoidable barriers and transport-related social exclusion.
Keywords: accessibility; children with disabilities; inclusive education; participation; social exclusion; tricycles; transport solutions; Zimbabwe
© Maria Kett, Marcella Deluca. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.