Teacher-student relationship as an enabler of holistic learning for SEND students

Key information

Location Uganda
Start date February 2023
Status In progress
Client Schools 2030
Partners Ichuli and Ekitabu


About 16% of Ugandan children have a disability; however, most of them do not access education (⇡World Bank, 2020). In 2011, there were 172,864 SEND students in primary schools in Uganda experiencing hearing, mental, visual, and physical impairment (ordered by frequency). SEND students are one of the most neglected populations, experiencing significant barriers that impede their holistic development (⇡The African Child Policy Forum, 2011).

Teacher-student relationships (TSR) in all contexts and education levels have been related to academic performance and learning outcomes (⇡Ojok & Wormnæs, 2013). Furthermore, TSRs can partially counteract the effects of socioeconomic status (SES) on academic performance (⇡Liu et al., 2021).

 In the last three decades, multiple studies have concluded that strong TSRs are fundamental to students’ well-being, engagement in school, and socio-emotional and cognitive development (⇡Hughes & Cavell, 1999; ⇡Pianta, 1999), particularly for SEND students (⇡Murray & Pianta, 2007). School-based initiatives and practices that create supportive connections between instructors and SEND students can offer these children much-needed help.

Our research proposal falls into the second area of study of the Schools2030 call for proposals: ‘What impact do pedagogical approaches targeting holistic learning outcomes have on educational equity?’ We focus on understanding the effect of teacher-student relationships (TSRs) on the perception of self-efficacy of SEND students in Ugandan primary schools.


This study seeks to provide valuable information to ensure not only the inclusion of children with disabilities in the education system but also ensure opportunities for them to thrive, increase their self-efficacy, and develop other holistic learning domains, through a quality teacher-student relationships. After the information is analysed, it will be shared as infographics and digital blog posts to increase the reach. We are committed to open knowledge and believe that research should serve teachers and caretakers above all else.


Coming soon.

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