Background: The kingdom of Swaziland is a signatory to policies on universal education that ensure high quality basic education for all. Education for All is a commitment to provide equal opportunities for all children and the youth as provided for in the country’s constitution of 2005. The tone for the introduction of inclusive education in Swaziland was inevitably set by the new constitution of 2005. Since then several policies have been produced by the government, all aimed at providing equal education opportunities to all children in the country. These policies include the Swaziland National Children’s Policy (2009), Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan (2006) and Draft Inclusive Education Policy (2008). The Education for All Policy (2010) is the policy that upon implementation became a stimulus for the introduction of inclusive education into mainstream schools; as a result, all teachers in the country’s schools were expected to be competent enough to teach learners with a wide range of educational needs. However, in-service teachers received inadequate staff development and training ahead of the implementation of inclusive education and a majority of teachers were not professionally developed for inclusive education, as pre-service students at tertiary training level.
Objectives: This study investigated barriers in the implementation of inclusive education at high schools in the Gege branch, Swaziland, with a view to finding lasting solutions to inform research and government policy.
Method: This research is a qualitative interpretive case study based on selected schools in the Gege branch of schools. Data was obtained through semi-structured research interviews and document analysis. It was processed and analysed through data coding, unitising, categorising and emergence of themes, which became the findings of the study.
Results: Lack of facilities in the governments’ schools and teachers’ incompetence in identifying learners facing learning challenges in their classrooms are some barriers to inclusivity.
Conclusion: The study concludes that there is a need for the Ministry of Education and Training to craft an inclusive curriculum in line with the inclusive policy in order to cater for the diverse educational needs of all learners in mainstream schools. It is thought that instituting a vibrant in-service and pre-service teacher training programme by the Ministry of Education and Training will increase teachers’ capacity to a level where teaching in inclusive classrooms does not negatively affect their competence.