Abstract

Children with intellectual disabilities (ID) often experience challenges due to low learning expectations and educational quality and limited educational access. Often, in locations impacted by higher levels of poverty, such as Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, educational disparities for children with ID are even more pronounced. To date, limited research has been conducted about educating children with ID from a teachers' perspective in Kinshasa. In this exploratory study, we analyzed data from 23 interviews with special education professionals who work with students with ID to describe their professional goals and explain the experience of delivering education to children with ID in Kinshasa. Most participants were drawn to their profession out of compassion and expressed the hope that they would help their students find jobs, live independently, and become valued members of society. The participants spoke in a uniform voice about how their passion and goals for their students were dampened by the difficulties they faced in educating their students, including low pay and the lack of a comprehensive system to support their work. Addressing these barriers is an important step towards ensuring the full personhood for all students in DRC, including children with ID.

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