The main objective of the research was to examine problems facing students with physical disabilities in higher learning institutions in Nigeria. Its specific objectives included; (1) examinining infrastructural situations in higher learning institutions to determine whether they support students with physical disabilities to study and live comfortably or not, (2) examining academic, social and financial problems facing the physically disabled students as well as (5) assessing stakeholders’ views on means they consider appropriate to address problems that face the physically disabled students at higher learning institutions. The study employed quantitative and qualitative research methods in collecting and analyzing data. Documentary review was used to examine infrastructure situations in 5 higher learning institutions. Questionnaires and interviews were also used to collect data from 12 physically disabled students. These techniques were further used to collected data from 5 heads of institutions, 21 tutors/lectures, 40 parents as well as 82 students without disabilities. Findings revealed that, 75 percent of higher education institutions’ infrastructures were available but inadequate. Eight five percent (85%) of the infrastructure was accessible with difficult to students with physical disabilities whereby35 percent and 25 percent of all infrastructure conditions were average and poor respectively. The study also found high inadequacy of teaching and learning materials as well as lack of special schemes, trained staff, funds and scholarship for students with physical disabilities. Hence it was recommended that government and other stakeholders should take special considerations and actions in order to accommodate students with physical disabilities in higher learning institutions. 

1.1 Background to the study 
A healthy society is one in which an obvious effort is made in order to get people with diverse backgrounds to work together towards the society’s goals (Bruhn, 1996). Although this is a difficult task, some societies have made and continue to make conscious efforts aimed at achieving this purpose through enacting of laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, color, and disabilities. They also established governmental agencies to ensure that these anti-discrimination laws are enforced. For example, to ensure inclusivity, the United States government requires all federal government agencies and contractors with over $50,000 or more in annual contracts to conduct workforce utilization analysis and have affirmative action plans to ascertain whether their respective workforce is a reflection of what is attainable in the immediate environment where the agency is situated (EO 11246). 

Education is very important for every person regardless of his/her age, gender, race, economic status, as well as physical ability or disability. People, particularly students with physical disabilities are usually perceived by societies as disadvantaged groups (Block, 1992). Hence they are in a position of missing some economic, political and social benefits including the right to access equitable and quality education. This is in line with Mcleod (2014) who points out that, students with physical disabilities experience personal limitations in school environments that affect their social, psychological and academic spheres that may likely affect their academic performances at school. Some of the limitations can be alleviated with parental, community and government support. 

People with physical disabilities have experienced narrow chances to enjoy school environments or practices due to fewer priorities given by educational providers to issues that may support the disabled especially in developing countries in areas such as curriculums, teaching and learning materials, infrastructure, special programs such as sports and games, environmental issues and the general quality of education. According to the Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2010 reaching the marginalized children with disabilities remains one of the main problems leading to wide exclusion of the group from quality education (Macleod, 2014). 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2011), the total population of the world is seven billion. Of this total, an estimated 15 percent of the population lives with a disability. Globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “people with physical disabilities are among the most marginalized groups in the world…. People with disabilities have poorer health outcomes, lower education achievements, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities” (WHO, 2011a). 

Regardless of existing challenges, the disabled, particularly the physically disabled children, have the right to primary, secondary and higher level education. Since the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights was released in 1948, there have been legislations on providing education for all children. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which entered into force in 2008 and which was ratified in UK 2009, has 145 signatories including all Public Service Agreement (PSA) countries except Afghanistan and Zimbabwe (DFID, 2012). The convention established that disability is not only a social welfare matter but also part of human rights. 

DFID (2012) has further elaborated that; article 24 of the Convention on Education emphasized that State Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of their disability. Persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality and free primary education, secondary and higher level education on an equal basis with others in communities where they live. However, this is possible only if reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements are provided; persons with disabilities receive the support they require within the general education system to facilitate their effective education; and effective individualized support measures are provided in environments that maximize academic and social development, consistent with the set goal for ultimate full inclusion of all. 

Research show that on average a student from the lowest socio-economic quintile with disability in sub-Saharan Africa has 15 less chance of entering a university than one from the highest quintile (Brossard and Foko, 2007). This implies that there are particularly strong correlations between poverty and disability in Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria in particular. Disabled people in Africa are among the poorest of the poor as a consequence of their exclusion from school benefits. 

In Nigeria, data show that in 2011, only 0.35 percent of all children enrolled in primary schools were children with disabilities. In secondary schools, 0.3 percent of boys and 0.25 percent of girls have disabilities. These percentages are extremely low when compared with the estimated 7.8 percent of the population with disabilities in Nigeria and indicate that most children with disabilities are not enrolled (UNESCO 2012). This small number of disabled students enrolled in primary and secondary schools predicts very low enrollment rates at higher learning institutions in Nigeria. For those children with disabilities who are enrolled, regular attendance is often extremely difficult. 

The major challenge among physical disabled students to access higher education in Nigeria is lack of accessible infrastructure. This involves unsupportive classrooms, laboratories, libraries, washrooms, dining halls/rooms, and sports and games’ space. Lack of physical and social access for disabled young people to higher education is a major barrier to creating a pool of appropriately qualified students to enter higher education on equal basis (Croft, 2010). This feature of the sub-Saharan African education system combined with lack of accessible infrastructure prevents a good number of disabled students from entering higher education The conditions stated above constitute major obstacles for many physically disabled students to get access and registration to formal education systems in colleges and universities. Due to these factors, there could be very low physically disadvantaged students attendance, retention, survival and academic completion rates. According to Croft (2010), the physically disabled students in school environments are less favoured by the infrastructures and schooling environment in general. 

It is from the researchers consideration of the situation explored above that the interest for this study was triggered. This study intends to explore the problems facing students with physical disabilities in higher learning institutions in Nigeria, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods or approaches with the aim of unearthing better solution against problems encountered by the physically disabled students and recommend appropriate strategies for the problem. 

1.2 Statement of the Problem 
The world is currently struggling for free, equitable and quality education for all people, starting with basic education, secondary and finally higher education through Education for All (EFA) goals. These goals have been adopted in many countries including Nigeria. The Universal Declaration for Human Right in 1948 declared education as an important right for every person including people with disabilities. 

Physically disabled students as clearly stated in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which entered into force in 2008 and having 145 signatories including Nigeria, were given wider chances for accessing education which will be friendly to the disabled persons. This includes making available all necessary environments that are supportive to the physically disabled students including those in higher education level. Such support refers to things such as good and supportive classrooms, laboratories, libraries, dormitories, internet connectivity, washrooms, dinning, as well as sports and games’ spaces. 

However, implementation of the recommendations differs from one country to another and from one institution to another. The situation is bad in many developing countries. This can be a result of poverty among countries or unfocused priorities and considerations given to quality education among disabled students. As noted earlier, UNESCO (2010) argued that in African countries, being disabled at least doubles the chance of having never attended school and those who do start school are at increased risk of dropping out and the problem is worse in higher levels of education. In other words, for the physically disabled students in poor countries, the enrolment rates, survival rates and completion rates are very low, and good academic performances are unlikely.The increasing number of the physically disabled out of school children and unfavorable learning environments for the physically disabled students in higher learning institutions in Nigeria increase the number of unskilled and illiterate citizens and youths who are not groomed for employment. Such students become dependent on others for their daily basic needs. Others engage in dangerous offenses as they seek for their earnings (Nakpodia, 2010). That was why the researcher was interested in investigating the problems facing the physically disabled people in Kogi state (Kogi state university) so as to ultimately suggest how to address the problems that the physically disabled students encounter in such environments. The investigation provided light on how to address the problem of effective engagement of the physically disabled students in higher education. As is commonly acknowledged education empowers individuals for social political and economic independence, hence those who miss education stand at disadvantage. The latter condition should be avoided as much as possible. 

1.3 Objective of the Study 
The purpose of the study was to examine the challenges of people living with disability in Kogi, state with a case study of Kogi state university. Specifically the study intended to: 

i) Examine infrastructural situations in higher learning institutions to determine whether the situations support students with physical disabilities to study and live comfortably. 

ii) Examine academic problems facing students with physical disabilities in Kogi state University. 

iii) Examine social problems that students with physical disabilities encounter in Kogi state University. 

iv) Investigate financial problems that students with physical disabilities encounter in Kogi state University. 

v) Assess stakeholders’ views on means through which the society can address problems that students with physical disabilities encounter in Kogi state University. 

1.4 Research Questions 
This study was guided by the following questions that were grounded on the research objectives; 

i) Do the infrastructural situations in Kogi state University support students with physical disabilities? 

ii) What academic problems do students with physical disabilities encounter in Kogi state University? 

iii) What social problems do students with physical disabilities encounter in Kogi state University? 

iv) What are the financial problems that students with physical disabilities encounter in Kogi state University? 

v) What are the stakeholders’ views on the means through which the society can address problems that are facing students with physical disabilities in Kogi state University? 

1.5 Significance of the Study 
The results of the study have generated knowledge on the real situation of the physically disabled students in Kogi state and their major challenges. Secondly, findings from the study are expected to assist in establishing a base for the government and other stakeholders to follow up how to provide accessible, quality and equitable higher education to people with physical disabilities. Thirdly, it is expected to help policy makers and education planners to review existing educational policies, plans and priorities so as to find out better ways of financing and supporting students with physical disabilities in higher education at the same time improving enrollment, survival, completion and performance rates of this group of students in higher learning institutions. 

1.6 Scope of the Study 
The study was restrained to the problems facing physically disabled students in higher learning institutions. The research was only involving students of Kogi state University. The study also included heads of departments, students with physical disabilities, lecturers, educational officers and students to provide information on problems facing students with physical disabilities and alternative ways to be taken to address the issue. These factors were most likely to delimit the representativeness and generalizability of the study to the entire situation in all institutions of higher learning in the country. 

1.7 Limitations of the Study 
This study encountered some limitations such as reluctances of some respondents to give their time for responding to the research questions. Time factor also limited the study processes due to the fact that, some disabled students were scatted across Kogi state University in the sense that they needed lot of time to visit and collect data for the study. The study also observed hardship in locating students with physical disabilities at higher learning institutions that were willing to contribute for study. Some of higher learning institutions had very strict rules and long procedures to get permission for conducting a study; hence the researcher spent lot of time and money to get permission for collecting data. 

1.8 Definition of Key Terms 
i) Disability- is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these. One disability could be a result of birth complications or it could develop along a life continuum as a consequence of a disease or accident. 

ii) Physical Disability- is a limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina. 

iii) Infrastructure - the basic physical systems of a country's or community's population, including roads, water, sewage, buildings, internet connectivity, learning facilities etc. 

iv) Stairs - a series of steps that go from one level or floor to another in a building. 

v) Curriculum - a planned interaction of pupils with instructional content, materials, resources, and processes for evaluating an attainment of educational objectives.

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