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The IDEA Research Unit has evolved from the university’s TEDI (Teacher Empowerment for Disability Inclusion) project which was created in response to a call to address the exclusion and poor-quality education of children with disabilities in South Africa. The primary objective of the Unit is to act as hub for future research in inclusive education in Africa and beyond, to promote networking and to carry out training within this field. It is envisaged that the Unit will be a catalyst to further ideas and knowledge as well as promote and strengthen the area of inclusive education locally, nationally, regionally, and globally.
inclusive classroom

RESEARCH
The Unit will focus on research activities that will provide future knowledge and input in the field of inclusive education. This will involve carrying out applied, participatory action, as well as theoretical studies that will address pertinent, relevant and topical issues within the educational and disability domains. Research activities can cover desktop studies, evaluation research, interventions, randomised control trial studies etc. Research will look at levels of the individual, parents, family, community and society within Early Childhood Development (ECD), primary, secondary and tertiary education as well as lifelong learning.
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Disabilities

NETWORKING
Part of the Unit’s focus is to network with other universities, research organisations, NPOs, DPOs and other relevant stakeholders in the field of inclusive education. Through networking, IDEA also seeks to advocate for the right to equitable and inclusive education for learners with disabilities, highlighting the need for stakeholders at all levels to view the vision of IDEA as a human rights issue. The network will facilitate collaboration that will strengthen advocacy and programmes around disability and education. Relationships with these stakeholders is fundamental in building a unified stance in the approach to developing a more inclusive education. We act as the secretariat for the Association for the advancement of Inclusive and Equitable Education in South Africa (AAIEESA).
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Sign language

TRAINING
Training is also a key focus of the Unit . Training and teaching of educators, parents, communities and other stakeholders on how to be more inclusive in their respective contexts works is imperative to make inclusive education more accessible and participative at grassroots levels. It is only through training that stakeholders will be able to be more effective and impactful to children, scholars and students with disabilities. The training offered through IDEA also emphasises the need for the various role players in the inclusive education sector to build communities of practice and gain professional agency.
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