Inclusive education in the global South? A Colombian perspective: ‘When you look towards the past, you see children with disabilities, and if you look towards the future, what you see is diverse learners.’

KAMENOPOULOU, Leda
Publication Date 
2018
23 pp

The findings of the research presented in this paper come in the aftermath of a momentous year for Colombia, a year that saw a historic peace deal signed between the government and the biggest left-wing guerrilla group (FARC) with the aim of bringing an over 50 year civil war to a long awaited conclusion. At a time when the Colombian people are being required to genuinely reflect on what inclusion means to them and how best they can achieve it within their deeply diverse society, I present findings from an ethnographic research that I conducted on inclusion in education focusing on the capital, Bogotá. The research foci were a) inclusive education in practice, b) teacher preparation for inclusive education, and c) local understanding of inclusive education. Findings include a local understanding of inclusive education as synonymous with disability, special teachers as synonymous with inclusive education in practice, and big gaps in teacher preparation for inclusive education. Based on these findings, I emphasise that inclusive education is a global North-created concept, which can acquire different meanings in global South contexts, and I argue that Colombia in particular needs time to make its own understanding of inclusive education a priority.

 

Disability and the Global South, 2018 Vol.5, No. 1

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