Between 10% and 15% of the world’s population are thought to be disabled. The 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an example of emerging global policy architecture for human rights for disabled people. Article 24 states that disabled people should receive the support required to facilitate their effective education. In research, links between higher education access, equalities and disability are being explored by scholars of the sociology of higher education. However, with the exception of some small-scale studies from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Rwanda, Namibia, Uganda and Pakistan, literature tends to come from the global North. Yet there is a toxic correlation between disability and poverty – especially in the global South. This article is based on a review of the global literature on disability in higher education and interview findings from the project ‘Widening Participation in Higher Education in Ghana and Tanzania: developing an Equity Scorecard’, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Department for International Development. A central finding was that while disability was associated with constraints, misrecognition, frustration, exclusion and even danger, students’ agency, advocacy and achievement in higher education offered opportunities for transforming spoiled identities.
Morley, L.; Croft, A. Agency and Advocacy: disabled students in higher education in Ghana and Tanzania. Research in Comparative and International Education (2011) 6 (4) 383-399. [DOI: 10.2304/rcie.2011.6.4.383]