The evident appearance of disability issues on the international development agenda is now similarly reflected at national and sector level in many countries around the globe. In education sector the global initiatives like Education for All, Salamanca Statement etc have trickled down to national level for implementation. Tanzania has embarked on various initiatives aiming at realising the envisaged goals that are contained in various global statements. Within this framework in 2004 the government issued for the first time in history the National Policy on Disability. This is a policy providing guidelines for service delivery in various sectors including education sector.
This study is about the primary teachers’ perspectives on the influence of the National Policy on Disability in special education facilities. Its main question was What is the perspective of primary school teachers on the influence of Tanzania national policy on disability in access to facilities in special needs education? It was carried out in Dar es Salaam and its sampling procedure was purposeful. Used criteria included schools which started before 2004 (the year the policy was issued) so as to grasp both situations before and after the policy. Another criterion was presence of special needs children under study (visual and physical special needs). Finally accessibility in terms of transport was also considered.
In data collection the study employed interviews in Swahili language, the national language of Tanzania. The study favored the use of interviews so as to get the perspectives of teachers which is the main interest of the research question. Six teachers were involved, two from each of the sampled schools. In Tanzanian context, head teachers and other teachers in managerial/administrative positions in school are counted to be teachers too. Thus the six interviewed teachers comprised of three head teachers and three regular school teachers.
The study found out that most primary school teachers are not aware of the policy. But there is an increase in access to facilities in special needs education which has failed to cope with the increased number of enrolled children. Being the case, problems in adequate facilities in special needs education remain persistent. Further finding was that in addressing these problems teachers largely rely on stakeholders. Finally the study recommends special attention to be given to inclusion, the need for clear policy dissemination mechanism, the need for policy enforcement and the need to have a special policy on special needs education.