Title

Towards inclusive education in a developing country context: Teachers' opinions about how they can better support children with special needs who are already present in mainstream school

Date of Award

8-1-2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

The philosophy of inclusive education, is the worldwide advocacy of provision of education to children with special needs in the mainstream schools, regardless of their abilities. Both developed and developing countries are trying to implement the objectives of inclusive education. However, successes and failures have been noted in all of those countries. This suggests that the way to full inclusion is tough and challenging, especially for most of the developing countries, which are constrained by poor economy. This study therefore, was an attempt to find an alternative approach for inclusion in the contexts of developing countries. It was conducted in a privately owned primary school in a suburb of Karachi, Pakistan, to explore the teachers' perceptions of how they can accommodate pupils with special needs though physically present in schools but excluded from the curriculum and/or social activities. This exclusion goes hand in hand with giving them labels like slow learners, underachievers etc. The findings of the study have shown that emotional, behavioural and attention problems are the major challenges faced by teachers in dealing with pupils with special needs in the school. Other challenges, that were revealed, were related to academics, classroom size and limited knowledge of teachers on how to deal with the said pupils. The study has revealed that creating a friendly environment at school, and application of different teaching strategies that can meet the learning needs of diverse pupils in the classrooms, can help to address some of these problems. This study has also shown the need for school administrations to support the efforts made by teachers in dealing with pupils with special needs, by considering the number of pupils in the classrooms, and the time required by teachers for preparation of their lessons and contact hours with their pupils. In addition, the study has revealed the need for training teachers in special needs education so as to enable them to understand the problems of their pupils and act accordingly. The study insists on effective communication in and outside schools to facilitate appropriate help both at school and at home. In order to achieve all these teachers need to devote themselves willingly accept and the role of dealing with all pupils in their classrooms. As an alternative approach, schools in developing countries need to meet the needs of all pupils who are already in schools, before they look towards the inclusion of other types of special needs.

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