An online text discussion forum discussing how best the education of children with disabilities can be supported in low and middle income countries.
The large-scale mainstreaming of disabled children in education in China was initiated with the launching of a national policy called ‘Learning in Regular Classrooms’ in the late 1980s. More than thirty years on, and little is known about disabled children’s daily experiences in regular schools due to a lack of research that foregrounds their voices. This paper reports the main findings from an ethnographic study conducted in 4 state- funded primary schools in Shanghai involving 11 children labelled as having ‘intellectual disabilities’, 10 class teachers and 3 resource teachers. Data were collected through participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and child-friendly participatory activities, and thematically analysed to identify patterns in practices and beliefs that underpin the processes of inclusion and exclusion. The research found that the child participants were facing marginalisation in many aspects of school life with rather limited participation in decision-making. The exclusionary processes were reinforced by a prevailing special educational thinking and practice, a charitable approach to the disadvantaged in a Confucian society, and an extremely competitive and performative schooling culture. The findings address the need to hear disabled children’s voices to initiate a paradigm shift in understanding and practice to counterbalance deep-rooted barriers. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research.
This research explores the experiences of Beth, a university student in the UK, as she comes to be labelled as ‘dyslexic’, and as she has her diagnosis taken away. Through use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and discourse analysis, the research seeks to understand how Beth made sense of these experiences, and to explore the discursive ‘life’ of dyslexia within this sense-making. The discussion in this paper proceeds chronologically through Beth’s story, from ‘struggle’, to ‘legitimation’ to ‘derogation’, and concludes with a call to recognise the role of diagnosis in the field of special educational needs (SEN) from a social constructionist and relational perspective.
Inclusive education offers a variety of potential academic and social benefits for all students; with as well as without disabilities. However, a common concern among the non-disabled population is the potential negative impacts the inclusion of students with disabilities might have on their non-disabled classmates. These negative beliefs and attitudes by parents and teachers can translate into a lack of implementation of inclusive education. There is substantial evidence for the benefits of inclusion for students with disabilities, however, there is very little evidence on the impact it has on non-disabled students, particularly in LMICs compared to HICs. This evidence brief explores evidence-based recommendations on the benefits of inclusive education for children without disabilities and how this issue shapes inclusive education implementation in LMICs.
The paper presents possibilities of comprehensive use of support tools for pupils at risk of school failure in the Czech primary schools practice in order to support the implementation of inclusive education. The research data obtained during the project implemented in the Pilsen region in period of 2016–2019 brought the results of assessment of new support tools that are not yet systemically introduced in the Czech educational system and commonly available for all schools, although these instruments seem to be very effective or even necessary for quality inclusive education. The most important new tools include the position of inclusion coordinator in schools, strengthening the counselling services available directly in schools, as well as new strategies for promotion of cooperation between the schools, families, and social services – including some specific techniques, such as parenting workshops on child support in education, case conferences with child’s participation or seminars for parents and teachers on collaboration with social services. However, the exploitation of the results of this research and assessment will depend largely on political decisions at both local and governmental levels.
Purpose: This paper aimed to investigate Greek secondary education teachers’ views on people with intellectual disabilities, their inclusion in the typical educational system, and the dimensions of social and educational exclusion that may be associated with it.
Method: The qualitative research design involved semi-structured interviews with 18 Greek secondary school teachers.
Results: It was revealed that people with intellectual disabilities face educational exclusion for two reasons. The first is because the structure of the education system itself cannot meet their increased needs, and the second is due to the fact that a percentage of secondary education teachers feel negative about their inclusion in the typical education system.
Conclusion and Implications: The implemented policy for the co-education of people with intellectual disabilities in Greece is not effective due to endogenous difficulties. It is necessary to orient the educational policy towards an education for all without "filters" of social exclusions.
Purpose: The aim of the present study was to understand the academic outcomes of children using cochlear implants in mainstream schools in Kerala, India and to explore the compensatory strategies used by them to overcome the difficultiesfaced in classrooms.
Method: Thirty-one children using cochlear implants who were attending first and second grades in mainstream schools, and their parents and teachers participated in the study. Teachers were asked to rate a questionnaire, “Teachers’ Perceptions of Academic Outcomes”, which consisted of five sections – oral comprehension, oral expression, reading, writing and mathematics. The performance of the children using cochlear implants was compared with the performance of typically hearing children in the class. The grades obtained in the previous examination were also used for the comparison. Information was collected regarding difficulties faced by the children inside the classroom and their strategies to overcome the challenges.
Results: The class teachers rated the performance of 71 % of these children as ‘above average’. Though the academic outcomes were found to be good on the questionnaire and classroom tests, most of the children with cochlear implantsfaced various difficulties and had used different compensatory strategies to give their optimum performance in the classroom.
Conclusion: The study emphasizes the importance of having mid- and long-term follow-ups with children using cochlear implants, even after mainstreaming. It is necessary to orient and train teachers about the needs of these children and to implement support strategies in mainstream schools.
The purpose of this paper is to explore issues and concerns related to academic redshirting in kindergarten and to discuss implications of this practice for children with disabilities. Although parents cite a variety of reasons for redshirting their child, only limited evidence of academic or social benefit can be found. A search was conducted to identify studies relevant to academic redshirting and inclusive of children with disabilities published within the past 20 years, and 17 articles were identified related to the topic. From these articles, three central topics emerged: (a) prevalence, predictors, or parent motivations for kindergarten redshirting, (b) the impact of redshirting on academic achievement and post-secondary outcomes, and (c) the impact of this practice on a child’s behavior. While assumptions can be made based on the research conducted using a general education population, the impact of kindergarten redshirting on the success of children with disabilities is unclear due to the limited amount of research that currently exists. Implications for children with disabilities are discussed.
Background: Habitual school backpack carriage causes neuro-musculoskeletal vertebral, shoulder and hand pain; deviated posture compromised cardiopulmonary function and proprioception.
Objective: Present a novel literature summary of the influence of backpack carriage associated with deviated cervical posture and compromised pulmonary function.
Method: An electronic literature appraisal adopting the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews, using Google Scholar, Science Direct, EMBASE, AMED, OVID, PubMed and Sabinet search engines, was instituted during 2009–2019. Key search words: schoolbag, backpack, carriage, cervical posture and children. The quality of the studies was assessed using the Downs and Black Appraisal Scale.
Results: 583 records were initially identified which was reduced to 14 experimental and observational studies. A total of 1061 participants were included across the 14 studies, with an average age of 11.5 ± 1.3 years, body mass of 37.8 ± 6.6 kilograms (kg), height of 1.41 ± 0.05 meters (m), backpack mass of 5.2 ± 0.9 kg and percentage backpack mass to child’s body mass of 13.75%. The studies mean rating according to the Downs and Black Appraisal Scale was 76.3%. The average craniovertebral angle (CVA) was 53.9° ± 14.6° whilst standing without carrying a backpack was reduced to 50.4° ± 16.4° when loaded (p < 0.05). Backpack loads carried varied from 5% – 30% of the participant’s body mass that produced a mean CVA decline of 3.5°.
Conclusion: Backpack carriage alters cervical posture, resulting in smaller CVA and compromised pulmonary function. There is no consensus of the precise backpack mass that initiates postural changes. Girls’ posture begin changes when carrying lighter backpacks as compared to boys of the same age strata.
This article presents a review of qualitative research on interprofessional cooperation between regular teachers and special educators published from 2005 to 2019. The aim of the review was to gain knowledge about how different forms of cooperation take shape and about factors at multiple levels that facilitate or constrain cooperation as a means of achieving inclusion. In total, 25 studies were selected. The results are discussed in relation to Thomas Skrtic’s theory of bureaucracies within the school organisation in order to compare and analyse different forms of interprofessional cooperation and schools’ organisations of special educational work. Cooperative teaching, special educational consultations and mixed forms of cooperation were found to entail different benefits and challenges related to communication and the cooperating actors’ roles. Facilitating factors included personal chemistry, an equal distribution of power and responsibilities and support from the school management through provision of professional development and adequate planning time. In several studies, a flexible cooperation was argued to be hindered by curricular constraints and standardised testing. Education policy is therefore emphasised in this review as important for understanding the conditions under which school staff are responsible for inclusion.
The aim of this article is to advance knowledge on how Swedish primary schools organise education and what strategies they deploy to ensure inclusion and attainment of newly arrived migrant students. The article is based on semi-structured interviews with 30 teachers and school administrators, and one-year of fieldwork undertaken in two multicultural urban primary schools in the Stockholm region. One of the schools initially places students in separate classes, while the other one places them directly into mainstream classes. Both are evoking inclusion and attainment as a reason for using their respective models. As such, do both ‘get it right’? Using inclusion as the theoretical and conceptual framework this article addresses the broader question: How is the meaning of inclusion constructed in the processes of its practical implementation in these two schools? The results show the ambitious tale of inclusion in both schools was, in the process of the construction of its meaning and implementation, reduced to some of its aspects. Teachers and school administrators are allowed to include or leave out of their model whatever they deem necessary, obsolete, expensive or unrealistic and still fitting under the umbrella of inclusion. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not, and both schools ‘get it right’ and ‘wrong’ in some aspects.
Purpose: This study investigated the attitudes of secondary school teachers towards students with blindness or partial sight in selected states in Nigeria.
Method: The authors utilised the modified version of a previous instrument to collect data from 306 secondary school teachers in Nigeria. Six basic questions were established to address: respondents’ attitudes towards inclusion; training acquired related to teaching; knowledge pertaining to policy and legislation; confidence levels to teach students with disabilities.; impact of geographical location; and differences in attitudes by the variables of subject(s) taught, school level taught, and years of teaching experience.
Results: Attitudes of participants were mixed but were generally positive. The level of training was low, with teachers showing limited knowledge of policy and legislation. A little over a quarter (27%) of them lacked confidence in teaching. There were differences in attitudes related to the geographical location of respondents. Those who taught at the senior secondary school level tended to have higher attitude scores on average than their counterparts at the junior secondary school level.
Conclusion and Limitations: This study used self-report measures, although observations and interviews could be additional ways to evaluate the attitudes of participants throughout the country. Moreover, in-service programmes may need to be implemented to increase teachers’ knowledge base and expand their experiences in line with established policies and legislation.
This paper explores inclusive education for children with disabilities in Mongolia in line with the global commitment captured in SDG 4, based on data from a 2019 survey of more than 5,000 households in Ulaanbaatar, and 4 provinces.
ADB EAST ASIA WORKING PAPER SERIES No.28
Purpose: The study aimed to understand the issues and challenges encountered by various stakeholders (teachers, parents and counsellors) working with children with dyslexia in the inclusive school context.
Method: Using purposive and snowball sampling, 20 teachers, 20 counsellors and 20 parents (mothers) of children with specific learning disability (dyslexia) were selected from 8 inclusive schools in Delhi. A qualitative approach was adopted, with a semi-structured interview schedule to elicit responses. Qualitative thematic analysis was used as a framework for data analysis.
Results: Parents experienced negative feelings due to lack of awareness and acceptance of dyslexia. Counsellers felt parental ignorance led to delay in assessment and remediation. Parents and counsellors perceived lack of support from schools and lack of empathy among teachers. Teachers confessed they lacked training to deal with dyslexic learners, were unaware of policies and concessions for them, and were currently overburdened with their workload.
Conclusion: There is a need to hold psycho-educational workshops for parents in order to increase their awareness, and conduct training workshops (pre-service and in-service) for teachers to increase awareness and build empathy. Schools should provide in-house assistive services such as assessment and remediation, and redefine the goals of education to focus on the holistic skills of children.
Research in inclusive settings is complicated by the nested relationships between the general education teacher (GET), the special education teacher (SET) and pupils. In this study, the impact of SET resource and selected variables of teacher competence (professional mathematical knowledge SET, attitude towards inclusion GET, classroom management GET) on the mathematical achievement gain of typically developing pupils (TYP) and pupils with intellectual disability (ID) was examined. Mathematical achievement was tested at the beginning of the school year (t1) and the end (t2) in 34 inclusive classrooms (sample ID: n = 42; sample TYP n = 525). IQ and gender – and the average mathematical achievement at class level in the sample TYP – were included as control variables. For pupils with ID, hierarchical regression modelling revealed that the mathematical knowledge at t1 explained most of the variance in mathematical achievement gain. For the group TYP, the results of a multi-level analysis showed that mathematical knowledge at t1, IQ and the average mathematical achievement at class level all had a positive effect on mathematical achievement gain. The more hours a SET was present in the classroom, the more the mathematical achievement of the group TYP increased. The other teacher competence variables had no apparent impact.
The Disability Inclusive Development (DID) consortium is working together on the Pre-Primary and Primary Inclusive Education in Tanzania (PPPIET) programme whose ultimate goal is to foster quality sustainable inclusive education for all children with disabilities (CWD) at scale across Tanzania in mainstream pre-primary and primary government schools. To achieve this, it aims to support collective, coordinated systems change by establishing an agreed common model of basic inclusive pre-primary and primary education in mainstream government schools, and galvanising significant progress in spreading its systematic implementation for all CWD across Tanzania over six years.
This task requires the cooperation of government, civil society and DPOs to achieve real change. No single organisation or government department can achieve inclusive education on its own. Cooperation between all government ministries, including education, health, finance and social welfare are key to providing individual support to learners with disabilities. Pooling the skills and resources, and exchanging learnings to achieve quality inclusive education of children can help all involved. Working together will build collective commitment and action, not just amongst DID consortium members but also across government, donors, education actors and the private sector.
The first part in this process was for the Task Team to conduct a desk review to establish an overview of the current educational context with regards to children with disabilities, including legislative, policies and practice, inclusive education strategies, disability contexts, cultural perspective, interventions, existing assessment and quality assurance processes, and opportunities and challenges.
Background: The manner in which disability is understood influences how individuals within a society, its institutions, policies and structures are able to accommodate and support people with disabilities (PWD) (Kaplan 2000). Understanding how students with disabilities (SWD) within a higher education context perceive and experience disability as well as how key players, namely, lecturers and disability unit (DU) staff, who influence that experience, is important in further shaping policy and providing a truly inclusive environment for all within HEIs.
Objectives: The study aimed to examine the narratives of disability among SWD, lecturers and the DU within a tertiary institution, with a view to better understand their experiences and required initiatives to address the challenges of disability within a higher tertiary institution.
Method: The study drew on three theoretical frameworks: social constructionism, feminist disability theory and the Foucauldian perspective. Data for the study were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 12 SWD, seven members of staff from the institution’s DU and five lecturers from within the School of Applied Human Sciences. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Results: The findings suggested that in spite of both facilitating and positive representations of disability, the dominant representation of disability was perceived as challenging and as a result, disempowering. Students with disabilities were found to adapt, and consequently modify their behaviour by disassociating from their disability in order to fit in.
Conclusion: The study highlights the need for creating spaces and engagement within an HEI context that both challenge negative discourses of disability, and at the same time, promote positive representations of disability.
African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020
The 2020 GEM Report assesses progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education and its ten targets, as well as other related education targets in the SDG agenda. The Report also addresses inclusion in education, drawing attention to all those excluded from education, because of background or ability. The Report is motivated by the explicit reference to inclusion in the 2015 Incheon Declaration, and the call to ensure an inclusive and equitable quality education in the formulation of SDG 4, the global goal for education. It reminds us that, no matter what argument may be built to the contrary, we have a moral imperative to ensure every child has a right to an appropriate education of high quality.
The Report also explores the challenges holding us back from achieving this vision and demonstrates concrete policy examples from countries managing to tackle them with success. These include differing understandings of the word inclusion, lack of teacher support, absence of data on those excluded from education, inappropriate infrastructure, persistence of parallel systems and special schools, lack of political will and community support, untargeted finance, uncoordinated governance, multiple but inconsistent laws, and policies that are not being followed through.
This situational analysis (SITAN) addresses the question: “what is the current situation for persons with disabilities in Nigeria?”. It has been prepared for the Disability Inclusive Development programme (which works on access to education, jobs, healthcare, and reduced stigma and discrimination for persons with disabilities in Bangladesh, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, and Tanzania), to better understand the current context, including COVID-19, and available evidence in Nigeria. It will be helpful for anyone interested in disability inclusion in Nigeria, especially in relation to stigma, employment, education, health, and humanitarian issues.
The Disability Inclusive Development (DID) consortium, a UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded initiative, is working together on the Pre-Primary and Primary Inclusive Education in Tanzania (PPPIET) programme whose ultimate goal is to foster quality sustainable inclusive education for all children with disabilities at scale across Tanzania in mainstream pre-primary and primary government schools. To achieve this, it aims to support collective, coordinated systems change by establishing an agreed common model of basic inclusive pre-primary and primary education in mainstream government schools, and galvanising significant progress in spreading its systematic implementation for all children with disabilities across Tanzania.
This task requires the cooperation of government, civil society and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) to achieve real change. No single organisation or government department can achieve inclusive education on its own. Pooling the skills and resources and exchanging learnings to achieve quality inclusive education of children can help all involved. Working together will build collective commitment and action, not just amongst DID consortium members but also across government, donors, education actors and the private sector.
Part of this process was to conduct a participatory field research to gather evidence on the current provision of support services needed for inclusive education and identify gaps that need to be filled in the future. The exercise also served to identify key challenges that need addressing to facilitate the removal of legal, policy, systemic, physical, communication and language, social, financial and attitudinal barriers. The findings from the research were intended to identify the priority components that need addressing in the design of an inclusive education design model and the drivers of accountability, i.e. the agencies/stakeholders responsible for implementing the required system changes.
Summary of key findings
The Government of Tanzania has continually demonstrated its support and commitment to inclusive education evidenced by the many comprehensive policies for inclusive education, including the National Inclusive Education Strategy (NSIE) 2018 – 2021. Through these policies, it is actively working to improve the educational environment but the journey is long and requires significant system changes for the policies to be effectively implemented, which needs collaboration, cooperation, planning, and strategic resourcing across multiple ministries, NGOs, DPOs, and the private sector.
To achieve inclusive education, a rights-based approach to education needs to be adopted, focusing on identifying and removing the barriers to access and quality learning for every child, including appropriate infrastructure changes in schools, changing attitudes, and providing additional support to girls and boys with disabilities through learning support assistants. There also needs to be a fundamental shift towards child-centred pedagogy in teacher training and curriculum development to meet the needs of all learners, including having a mandatory module on inclusive education in all teacher training curricula. Over time, this will help develop teachers’ confidence and positive attitudes towards teaching children with disabilities and achieve impact at scale. Strengthening the capacities of all teachers, improving classroom management, increasing awareness about inclusive education for all stakeholders, and improving access to screening and early identification, health, rehabilitation services, and affordable assistive devices are all contributing factors to achieving inclusive education in Tanzania.
Systems change to improve learning and support for children with disabilities takes time and requires a significant investment of resources and budget allocation by government and service providers. However, inclusive education can be cost-effective compared with the cost of segregation and special schools, particularly where ministries work together to ensure a more ‘strategic allocation of existing funds, promoting universal design and co-operation agreements among multiple ministries’. Developing partnerships with the private sector to improve the physical infrastructure of schools and access to affordable assistive devices can also help reduce the cost of inclusion.
Inclusive education is a cross-cutting issue that requires the commitment and accountability of multiple stakeholders across government ministries to ensure its effective implementation. This includes the MOEST, MOHCDGEC, MOFP, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the President's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG).
It is anticipated that to achieve successful implementation and scaling up of the model design for inclusive education, there will need to be a systematic and phased approach to implementing the recommendations in this report over the short, medium and long term. It is acknowledged that this process will take considerable time to implement and can only be successfully achieved over a period of years with the support and increased understanding of all stakeholders. There is no quick-fix solution to inclusive education. It requires changing long-established systems and adjusting services, including health and education, training, and attitudes. There is also no financial short cut.
However, while some recommendations require significant investment, others can be achieved in the current context without significant monetary investment. For example, changing the curriculum for all teacher training to ensure inclusive education is included as a standard module will help transform the approach of teachers and the inclusion of children with disabilities in learning. Raising awareness of inclusive education for all stakeholders, including policy-makers and implementers will also help increase understanding of the long-term system changes required and reduce stigma and discrimination. Inclusive education can only be achieved in an inclusive society and it needs collective effort from the government, parents, community, and all stakeholders for effective implementation.
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