Higher Certificate in Disability Practice

The policy on re-engineering of Primary Health care in South Africa necessitates the development of human resource capacity particularly in the field of rehabilitation and disability. The Department of Health in Western Cape has taken the initiative in this regard. It is envisioned that a certificate in disability practice will provide opportunities for a range of community-based workers to upgrade their skills and access possible career pathways.


The programme will be of benefit to current home-based carers, community-based workers and matriculants who have an interest in pursuing a career in the field of community-based disability practice. It will create foundational skills for disability prevention and care. This qualification is to provide students with the basic knowledge, cognitive and conceptual tools and practical techniques for application in the field of disability inclusive development. his need is not currently being met by any tertiary institution. This qualification signifies that the student has attained a basic level of higher education knowledge and competence in their role as community development workers. The Higher Certificate includes theoretical and practical work integrated learning components.



The programme is comprised of five courses taught over the period of one year. Students will complete the following courses as part of the certificate:

Disability Information Management and Communication Systems

Expected Learning Outcomes

Describe and develop basic health information systems and implement management and communication systems in relation to care pathways of people with disabilities across sectors to be able to monitor inclusion and access to services. (This course can be modified to focus specifically on disability and rehabilitation information in the health sector).

Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students should:

  • Explain the components of an information system
  • Demonstrate principles and practice of record keeping
  • Demonstrate use of a variety of participatory rural appraisal methods and different tools to gather information
  • Demonstrate critical enquiry in collating information
  • Disseminate information in a professional manner
  • Identify relevant support services and care pathways for effective referral and follow up


Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

Expected Learning Outcomes

Understand primary health care and assist in the design and implementation of health promotion actions, education and strategies in different contexts and life stages, namely, personal management, play, schooling, work, social interactions through sport etc.

Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Define health promotion
  • Identify social determinants of health
  • Identify health promoting occupations
  • Facilitate community participation in active health promotion campaigns
  • Mediate and liaise between health services for families and people with disabilities


Inclusive Development and Agency

Expected Learning Outcomes

Understand community-based rehabilitation as a community development strategy to promote the rights of people with disabilities and implement strategies and actions to enable participation by taking environmental factors into consideration.

Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students should:

  • Define and explain the concepts of disability, social inclusion and community development
  • Explain the concept of power in collaborative relationships to facilitate disability inclusion
  • Identify the purpose of disability rights policies in creating equal opportunities for access to activities, services, information and documentation
  • Identify and describe factors influencing participation across sectors (name barriers and facilitators)
  • Implement strategies to enable participation and access to services
  • Demonstrate evidence of mobilizing resources in the community
  • Establish collaborative relationships and self-advocacy with relevant stakeholders


Health Wellness and Functional Ability

Expected Learning Outcomes

Understand human development and common health conditions in order to select and screen disabled clients for impairments and provide basic interventions to improve participation in the life areas of living, learning, working and socialising. Principles and procedures related to caring for the carers would include the ability to work safely and prevent injury to self and others.

Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Discuss and describe normal development and wellness in children and adults
  • Identify clients with selected disorders and difficulties
  • Demonstrate appropriate kinetic handling and positioning skills
  • Demonstrate appropriate use of assistive devices
  • Identify risk factors for emotional distress in carers, clients and self
  • Apply basic counselling and support methods to carers, clients and self
  • Recognise when referral is required
  • Demonstrate appropriate referral patterns and work in a multidisciplinary team


Work Integrated Practice Learning (Part 1 and Part 2)

Expected Learning Outcomes

Provide practice learning opportunities for students to integrate knowledge and skills related to the above courses. Practice the ability to screen, provide basic care, follow-up and referral systems, as it relates to the needs of people with disabilities.

Specific Learning Outcomes

  • By the end of this course students should:
  • Apply essential methods, procedures and techniques to address the difficulties and disorders experienced by disabled people across the lifespan in the community
  • Demonstrate appropriate written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrate efficient information-gathering, analysis and decision- making abilities
  • Demonstrate ability to evaluate and reflect in and on action


Structure and duration of programme

The programme comprises four taught courses and one practical course. The curriculum extends over one year (from January to December or from June to June, to be determined by the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences). There are three theoretical teaching blocks per year of a maximum of four weeks each and 15 weeks of practice learning (a total of 24 weeks which will run from February to November). Participation in tutorials and group projects is compulsory. All coursework must be completed in a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years.


Admission requirements

An applicant may be considered for admission to this Higher Certificate on the basis of

(a) having obtained a matric certificate or National Senior Certificate for Adults (NASCA) or HEQSF level 4 equivalent qualification.

(b) RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning), in which case applicants will be required to submit a personal portfolio reflecting, amongst others, their experience in the field of disability and/or development; any relevant work experience; past attendance of relevant courses for which they may have obtained certificates or diplomas; assessments related to evidence of critical thinking skills in writing and reading. (c) evidence that they are proficient in English.

An applicant is also recommended to submit two letters of support from his/her employer, granting the applicant study leave for the weeks requiring block attendance, and undertaking to provide support to enable the applicant to complete assigned tasks and assignments within the work context.


Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

This process is applicable to community care workers or other applicants without a NSC but years of experience.

UCT Undergraduate Handbook



Online applications can be done through the UCT website. Please follow the link below to the application page to complete this process.

UCT Online Applications

Applicants are also required to write the National Benchmark Tests (NBT) as a mandatory part of their application. Kindly visit the UCT NBT website to find out more about when and where you can write the test.

UCT NBT Website


For online application queries kindly contact the UCT Admissions Office (Tel: + 27 21 650 9111 / EmailUCT Admissions Office)



The project was pioneered by the University of Cape Town Disability Studies Division in collaboration with University of Western Cape and the University of Stellenbosch for the Department of Health, Western Cape.