Department of Inclusive Education

Prof SS Ntombela

College of Education
School of Educational Studies
Department: Inclusive Education
Associate Professor
Tel: 012 481 2881


  • B. A. (UZ)
  • U.E.D. (UZ)
  • B. Ed (UN)
  • Dipl. Spec Ed (Remedial) (UN)
  • M. Ed (Special Education) (Manchester)
  • PhD (UKZN)

Currently teaching

  • ETH302S - Inclusive Education A

Fields of academic interests

  • Access and support for students with disabilities
  • The influence of language and gender on teaching and learning
  • Children’s geographies and their impact on learning and development

Field of Specialisation

  • Inclusive Education
  • Learning support
  • Children’s geographies


  1. Ntombela S, Raymond E, & Hay J (2013) Inclusive education in South Africa and Globally. In L. van Wyk (ed.) Making inclusive education work in classrooms. Pearson South Africa, pp. 1-36
  2. Ntombela S & Raymond E (2013) Strategies for teaching and learning in inclusive classrooms. In L. van Wyk (ed.) Making inclusive education work in classrooms. Pearson South Africa, pp. 154-173.
  3. Ntombela S (2012) Do Clothes make a (wo)man? Exploring the role of dress in shaping South African domestic workers’ identities. In C. Mitchell & R Moletsane (eds.) “Was it something I wore?” Gender and dress as material culture in social research in Southern Africa.  Pretoria: HSRC Press. Pp. 132-147

Journal articles

Mashiya J & Ntombela S (2015) Learning to teach through mother tongue: PGCE students' experiences in one South African university. In the International Journal of Education Science, 11(1) 97-107

Ntombela S & Subrayen R (2013) Access challenges for students with disabilities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal: A situational analysis of the Edgewood Campus. In the Journal of Social Sciences, 37, 1, 149-155.

Ntombela S (2013) Inclusive education and training in South African higher education: Mapping the experiences of a student with disabilities. In Africa Education Review, (10, 3, 483-501)

Ntombela S & Dayal, H (2011) Programmes and strategies targeting Gender and Poverty reduction in South Africa: A Case Study of Three service delivery Departments. In the African Journal of Governance and Development, 1, 1, 74 -87

Mahlase ZR & Ntombela S (2011) Addressing barriers to learning and development in KwaZulu-Natal: Drop-in centres as community responses to children’s needs in the context of HIV/AIDS. In the South African Journal of Childhood Education, 1, 2, 193-201.

Ntombela S (2011). The progress of Inclusive Education in South Africa: Teachers’ experiences in a selected district, KwaZulu-Natal. In Improving Schools, 14, 1, 5-14.

Moletsane R & Ntombela S (2010) Gender and Rurality in southern African contexts: An introduction. In Agenda, 84: 4-8.

Ntombela S & Mhlongo B (2010) ‘Do you all understand?’ ‘Yes Ma’am.’ A South African primary school addresses language and communication barriers. International Journal of Language, Society and Culture, Issue 31:98-104.

Ntombela S (2010) Towards Inclusive Education and Training: Developing the South African System for the Challenges of Change. Special Issue, Journal of Education Studies, 9, 1, 69-81.

Ntombela S (2009) ‘Do you understand?’ ‘Yes Ma’am.’ In HSRC Review, 7, 4: 22.

Ntombela S (2009) Review: Progress of the world’s women 2008/2009. Who answers to women? Gender and accountability. In Agenda, 81 (148-151).

Ntombela S & Mashiya N (2009) “In my time, girls…” Reflections of African adolescent girl identities and realities across two generations, in Agenda, 79 (94-106).

Ntombela S (2009) Are we there yet? Towards the development of Inclusive Education in one district in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in The International Journal of Learning, 16, 7,113-122.

Ntombela S (2003) The challenge of overage children in two South African primary schools. In The International Journal on School Disaffection, 1, 1, 36-44.

Ntombela S (1997) Meeting special educational needs in an Umlazi Primary School. In The International Journal of the Association of Special Education, 1, 1, 11-20.

Paper presentations

Meeting special educational needs in Umlazi Primary School”. Paper presented at the Fifth Biennial International Conference of the Association of Special Education in Cape Town, July 1997.

Special School Graduates and Equal Opportunities.”  Paper presented at the South African Association for Learning and Educational Difficulties conference, September 1998, Cape Town.

Inclusionary and Exclusionary Practices at Rural Schools.”  Paper co-presented with G. Naidoo at the South African Association for Learning and Educational Difficulties Conference, September 1998, Cape Town.

Policy Developments in Special Needs Education: Implications for Teacher Education.”   Workshop co-facilitated with Dr N. Muthukrishna at the International Trends in Teacher Education Conference, 14 July 1998, Durban.

Developing Inclusive Schools: South African Priorities.”  Poster presented at the Kenton Conference, October 1999, Shaka’s Rock.

Teachers’ perceptions of inclusive education in South Africa: an exploratory study” Paper presented at the Doctoral Students’ Conference, University of London’s Institute of Education, 9 July 2003.

Do you all understand? Yes Ma’am. ” A case study of language and communication barriers at a primary school. Paper co-presented with B. Mhlongo at the Kenton, Ukhahlamba, 2004

Are we there yet? An investigation of why the principles of inclusive education have not taken root among South African teachers.”   Paper presented at the Education Association of South Africa (EASA) in January, 2009, Durban.

Do you all understand?” “Yes Ma’am” A primary school addresses language and communication barriers in South Africa.  Paper presented at the HSRC Conference: Responding to the global economic crisis: contributions of human and social science to social protection, growth and nation building. 16-17 September 2009, Birchwood, Johannesburg.

Gender and poverty reduction strategies in two national departments: Towards an understanding.” Paper presented at a Symposium on Gender and Poverty Reduction: Voice, Dialogue & Targeting in South Africa, 13-15 October 2009, Kopanong Conference Centre, Johannesburg.

Are we there yet? Towards the development of Inclusive Education in one district in KwaZulu-Natal.” Paper presented at the 16th International Conference on Learning, Barcelona, Spain, 1-4 July 2009.

Transformation in Higher Education: mapping the experiences of a student with disabilities at University X”. Paper presented at the 4th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference, held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 20 to 22 September, 2010.

Higher Education Disability Services Association Symposium on 28 to 29 September 2010 at the University of Free State.

Teachers’ experiences of Inclusive Education in South Africa: A case study of selected schools in Greater Durban.  Paper presented at the International Journal of Arts and Sciences’ Annual International Conference for Academic Disciplines, Bad Hofgastein, Salzburg, Austria, 30 May to 03 June 2010.

Barriers to learning and development: South African Early Childhood Development Realities in the Context of Inclusive Education.”  Paper presented at the 37th International South African Society for Education Conference, held at the University of Venda, 7-9 October 2010.

Personal experiences of obstacles and/or successes in academia in South Africa.”  Paper read at the SANPAD Women in Research International Conference, Elangeni Hotel, 26-28 October, 2010.

2001 to 2011: Mapping the successes and struggles of Inclusive Education pilots in KwaZulu-Natal”. Paper presented at the Human Rights Education in Diversity: Challenges and Proposal conference, held at the North West University’s Potchefstroom Campus, 18 to 20 April 2011.

Learning via English: Experiences of 12 indigenous African trainee-teachers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  Paper presented with Tchatchoueng, J and Kalenga, R at the Postgraduate Conference of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, College of Humanities, Durban, in July 2012.

Supporting vulnerable children through Drop-in centres: A case study of two rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal”. Paper presented at the South African Educational Research Association (SAERA), held at Klein Kariba Resort, Limpopo from 27 to 30 January 2013.

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

2010: HSRC Research Excellence Award (Research Trainee Category)

2004: NRF research grant

2003: British Council Split-Site Scholarship

1992: Commonwealth Scholarship


  1. Support for students with disabilities in Higher Education
  2. Barriers to learning and development in Higher Education