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Title:Academic and campus experiences of college students with visual impairments in Vietnam: a multiple case-based study
Author(s):Bui, Tuyen Thi Thanh
Director of Research:Ostler, Teresa
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ostler, Teresa
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Wu, Chi-Fang; Powell, Tara; Collins, Mary; Burke, Meghan; Hasnain, Rooshey
Department / Program:School of Social Work
Discipline:Social Work
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Visual impairments
academic experience
college students
case study
Abstract:Background and Purpose: Education plays an integral part in the lives of individuals, including people with visual impairments. Especially, participation in higher education will increase employment opportunities for visually impaired youth, and as a result, they can have their own income, live independently, and integrate into mainstream society. Out of the 2 million people in Vietnam with visual impairments, only a small number of students attend school, and a few attend colleges. Furthermore, literature shows they encounter countless barriers in higher education compared to their sighted counterparts. This study is the first to explore the experiences of students with visual impairments (SWVIs) in higher education in Vietnam. Methods: This multiple case-based study drew on in-depth interviews with 30 college students with visual impairments across Vietnam aged from 21 to 32 (average age of 25) on their academic and campus experiences of participation in college, and on extensive field notes and informal observations of participants. Of the student participants, 16 were males and 14 were females. The study also included 10 faculty and administrators (6 males, 4 females) aged from 32 to 70 (average of 47) on their experiences of instructing SWVIs. SWVIs were from 17 colleges and universities, and faculty were from 9 colleges and universities. All the participants were from colleges in three main locations of Vietnam, namely Hanoi, Central Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh City, and completed 60 to 90-minute-long interviews with the author. Thematic-style analyses were undertaken to identify dominant and emergent themes and meaning units. Results: Findings from data analysis revealed several influencers from multiple systems such as family, school, and community on higher education of SWVIs. According to the social approach of the disability theory, institutional, environmental, and attitudinal barriers prevented SWVIs from achieving academic success. In addition, female SWVIs in Vietnam faced more challenges in higher education than men due to social and cultural barriers to women. Findings from interviews with faculty corroborated findings from interviews with SWVIs that a lack of institutional disability policy, inaccessibility, and a lack of disability awareness were key barriers in higher education of SWVIs in Vietnam. Finally, participants recommended removing institutional, environmental, and attitudinal barriers to improve academic outcomes of SWVIs. Conclusions and Implications: The study underscores important institutional, environmental, and attitudinal barriers to higher education of SWVIs in Vietnam and suggests several measures to remove the barriers. Solutions include developing a comprehensive disability policy for colleges and universities that clearly describes their responsibilities to provide accommodation to students with disabilities and SWVIs. In addition, each college should have an office for disability services that links SWVIs with needed services. Furthermore, faculty, staff, and students should be trained on disability so that they respect the rights of people with disabilities and avoid discrimination against them. Besides, higher education institutions should pay attention to gender-based sensitive services to meet the special needs of female SWVIs. Finally, colleges and universities should apply the universal design to improve the accessibility of their campus including facilities, library, learning materials, and transportation.
Issue Date:2021-12-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Tuyen Bui
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-04-29
Date Deposited:2021-12

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