Sixty Years of Special Needs Education in Tanzania: Celebrating Audacity, Commitment and Resilience

Frida D. Tungaraza


This study traces the development of special needs education in Tanzania from 1950, and discusses the achievements and the persistent challenges that Tanzania faces as we celebrate 60 years since the first special education school was started. Both documentation and interview methods were used to collect information. The participants included 15 special education teachers. The results show that some remarkable strides have been made to educate children with disabilities. More learners with different disabilities are now in school, albeit very few; and the number of trained teachers has increased to some extent. Yet, tough challenges also persist. These include accessibility barriers, lack of and/or inadequate equipment and materials, and negative attitudes. The paper concludes that, although the journey travelled since 1950 gives some hope and encouragement, the destination is still a long way off. A lot needs to be done to ensure that persons with disabilities are protected, valued and given their rights as human beings, such as the right to be respected, and the right to live and get quality education.

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