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Prestige scholar, Oliver Mutanga, to continue research at University of Pavia through CICOPS scholarship
2014-12-19

 

Oliver Mutanga has been awarded a 2015 CICOPS scholarship – one of only ten researchers world-wide to be afforded this opportunity. The scholarship enables Mutanga to visit the University of Pavia in Italy from January to March next year to expand his research.

As a second-year PhD student taking part in the Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Scholars Programme, Mutanga is well on his way to achieve his goal of becoming an internationally-recognised scholar. He is currently conducting his research at our Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development under the supervision of Prof Melanie Walker and Dr Lis Lange. In his PhD, Mutanga examines the processes through which disabled students make their educational choices and negotiate different socio-cultural and institutional structures in higher education.

During his stay in Italy, Mutanga will work with Prof Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti on the intersectionality of disability, disadvantage and other social variables. “I will also present lectures and seminars on my PhD work at Pavia University and meet with other young capabilities approach scholars,” Mutanga says.

There is a growing acknowledgement nationally and internationally that there is limited data and understanding of the framing on disability issues. As such, data on the experiences of disabled students in higher education is important and timely in preparation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

Mutanga’s preliminary analysis challenges the popular discourse that is so common in South African higher education debates that they receive unprepared students into their institutions. The data seems to indicate the opposite, though: that it might be the institutions that are underprepared to receive diverse students. The study advocates for a capabilities-based conception of student equity that focuses on the widening of opportunities for all students within higher education to pursue what they have reason to value.

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