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Antony Were at Civil Society Policy Forum 2021

HIAIR
March 2021

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Antony Were, who works for Humanity & Inclusion in Kenya, briefly describes his experience as an inclusive teacher in refugee camps and asks panelists how can teachers be better supported to be inclusive teachers, especially during times of crisis like COVID, so that children with disabilities don’t lose out

‘Teachers Did Not Let Me Do It.’: Disabled Children’s Experiences of Marginalisation in Regular Primary Schools in China

WANG, Yuchen
2021

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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.

Combatting the costs of exclusion for children with disabilities and their families

MONT, Daniel
UNICEF
March 2021

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Compared with other children, children with disabilities are less likely to receive an education, less likely to be employed as adults, more likely to be victims of violence, less likely to start their own families and participate in community events, and more likely to live in poverty. 

The exclusion of children with disabilities affects not only them, but imposes costs on the whole community. If these children lack the opportunity to be productive, society loses out on what they could have produced.  The barriers faced by people with disabilities can also create more responsibilities for their family members, which can limit their opportunities to work or get an education.

Moreover, the impact of exclusion extends beyond the economic cost. If people with disabilities are absent from public discourse, the community cannot benefit from their ideas. If they are excluded from political participation, the government cannot truly represent the interests of all citizens. 

A growing body of research suggests that the costs of exclusion are high. Fortunately, evidence also demonstrates that there are effective ways to ameliorate these costs. A strong case can be made for the social and economic benefits of inclusion. This paper is an effort to begin making that case.

 

Using the Service-Learning approach to bridge the gap between theory and practice in teacher education

RESCH, K
SCHRITTESSER, I
2021

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Service-Learning stands out as a teaching approach that connects theory and practice by giving students the opportunity both to participate in a service that meets community needs and to reflect on the experience in class in order to gain a deeper understanding of the course content and an enhanced sense of civic engagement. The advantages of Service-Learning for inclusive education have recently been underpinned by studies, in which pre-service teachers are exposed to diverse population groups in schools or communities. Our study explores how Service-Learning is applied in teacher education in Austria. It is based on a series of semi-structured interviews with 13 teacher educators who apply this form of teaching in cooperative projects with schools. Our findings suggest that teacher educators distinguish between five orientations in Service-Learning (connecting theory and practice, engagement, community needs, job-related skills, learning outside the classroom), take on distinct expert and support roles, and see multiple benefits in Service-Learning. Our study underlines the importance of Service-Learning for inclusive education and the value of preparing pre-service teachers for dealing with diverse groups of pupils by allowing them to experience the real-world problems that confront schools.

Comprehensive support for pupils at risk of school failure in inclusive education: theory and school practice in the Czech Republic

SLOWÍK, Josef
GAŽÁKOVÁ, Eva
HOLEČEK, Václav
ZACHOVÁ, Markéta
2021

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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.

Social classroom climate and personalised instruction as predictors of students’ social participation

ZURBRIGGEN, Carmen L A
HOFMANN, Verena
LEHOFER, Mike
SCHWAB, Susanne
2021

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Previous research has repeatedly confirmed that students with special educational needs (SEN) are generally less accepted by their peers. Although inclusive teaching strategies and classroom characteristics are frequently hypothesised to improve students’ social participation, empirical evidence is scarce. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate classroom characteristics and teaching practices that can help foster social participation, in general, and reduce the effect of lower social participation among students with SEN, in particular. The sample includes 518 students in 31 Grade 4 and 7 classes from Austria, of whom 99 are students with SEN. The results show that students with SEN receive fewer peer nominations and perceive their social participation to be lower compared to their peers without SEN. However, the association between SEN and self-perceived social participation is moderated by the social classroom climate, i.e. the difference becomes smaller when the social classroom climate is more positive. Furthermore, the higher the personalised instruction was rated by a student, the higher was his or her social status. The results suggest that interventions should focus not only on the improvement of individual students (with SEN) but also on changing the whole classroom environment.

The community-based actions that removed barriers to inclusive education in Kenya

ELDER, Brent C
PAYNE, Mbuh
OSWAGO, Benson
2021

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This article represents a culmination of inclusive education projects implemented in western Kenya since 2010. In this article, we discuss the 2018 iteration of this on-going community-based participatory research (CBPR)-informed project in which we utilised multiple theoretical frameworks to inform our methods in this project, including decolonising methodologies and Critical Disability Studies (CDS). We conducted qualitative interviews as a way to learn about the ways in which inclusion committees facilitated the partial removal of barriers to the development of an inclusive education system in the region over the last decade. In this article, we provide an overview of the barriers to inclusive education in the global South and sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on western Kenya. We present findings that highlight the various inclusion committee actions that contributed to the partial removal of barriers which included: sensitising communities about inclusive education; promoting access to inclusive education; and implementing inclusive strategies like income generating activities (IGAs) and co-teaching. We conclude the article by suggesting potential ways forward for inclusive education in Kenya including: a multi-sector approach for family supports; providing government incentives to inclusive schools; and promoting IGAs and co-teaching practices in teacher education programs and in schools.

Greek Secondary Education Teachers’ Views on Inclusive Education of People with Intellectual Disabilities

GIAVRIMIS, Panagiotis
2021

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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.

Academic Outcomes and Coping Mechanisms of Children using Cochlear Implants in Mainstream Schools in Kerala, India

GEORGE, A
JOY, J M
SREEKUMAR, S
2021

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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.

Using selected behaviour modification practices to enhance reinforcement of reading abilities among dyslexic learners in Kenya

OOKO, Pamela A
ALOKA , Peter J O
2021

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Background: Dyslexic learners have difficulties in accurate and fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities.

 

Objective: The present study investigated the use of selected behaviour modification practices to enhance reinforcement of reading abilities amongst dyslexic learners in primary schools in Kenya.

 

Methods: The Solomon four research design was adopted. A sample size of 229 dyslexic learners in four selected schools was obtained using purposive sampling technique. The tools used were the Bangor Dyslexia Test and a short reading comprehension test. Internal validity of the constructs was tested using the Kaiser–Meyer–Oklin measure of sampling adequacy (KMO Index) and the Bartlett’s test of sphericity. The reliability of the questionnaires was ascertained using Cronbach’s alpha and internal consistencies of 0.673–0.807 were reported.

 

Results: The findings reported a statistical significant difference between pre-test and post-test scores of the experiment group 1, t (48) = –15.059, p < 0.01, implying that a significant effect was found in the use of behaviour modification strategies in improving learner English language reading skills. The regression model explained 54.7% (R2 = 0.547) of the variability in the level of English language reading abilities amongst primary school learners with dyslexia.

 

Conclusion: The study concludes that coaching behaviour modification practice had the highest influence on English language reading abilities as compared to prompting, shaping and modelling practices. The study recommended training of teachers on the use of behaviour modification practices to improve dyslexic learners’ reading ability.

 

Education, girl, disability: an equation to solve. Ensuring the right to education for girls with disabilities in the Sahel

HUMANITY & INCLUSION (HI)
January 2021

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Most girls with disabilities do not have the opportunity to access education and to thrive in school. They are exposed to multiple  discrimination owing to their identity as girls and as children with disabilities. Comprehensive measures are needed to ensure their right to inclusive and quality education.

The factsheet builds on the findings of a research conducted by Humanity & Inclusion in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger and conveys messages and recommendations aiming to inspire action and thus improve educational opportunities for girls with disabilities.

Key recommendations so that girls with disabilities are not left behind are made to governments, donors and civil society organisations

Insisting on inclusion: Institutionalisation and barriers to education for children with disabilities in Kyrgyzstan

MILLS, Laura
December 2020

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Since 2012, the Kyrgyz government has pledged to close 17 residential institutions for children, including three for children with disabilities. But 3,000 children with disabilities remain in institutions.

This report is based on in-person visits to six institutions for children with disabilities and 111 interviews with children with disabilities, their parents, institution staff, and experts in four regions of Kyrgyzstan. It describes abuses in state care as well as barriers to education that often lead to a child’s segregation in a residential institution or special school, or their isolation at home.

 

 

Accessible to All: Creating learning materials for children with disabilities in Cambodia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tajikistan

EducationLinks
December 2020

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Examples are outlined of how good practices in the provision of accessible learning materials are being put into practice by USAID in partnership with organisations addressing the education needs of students with disabilities:

  • Expanding access through Universal Design for Learning in Cambodia: All Children Reading
  • Applying a user-centered design approach in Kenya: eKitabu and Deaf-led Sign Language Video Stories
  • Promoting sustainable accessible standards in Rwanda: Soma Umenye
  • Supporting underserved languages in accessible formats: The Global Digital Library
  • Fostering parental involvement in Tajikistan: USAID Read with Me

 

Let’s break silos now! Achieving disability-inclusive education in a post-COVID world

HUMANITY & INCLUSION (HI)
November 2020

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Children with disabilities face multiple obstacles to access and thrive in education. In low- and middle-income countries, 50% of children with disabilities are out of school.  More than 40% of countries in the regions of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean still lean towards segregated education systems. Obstacles for the education of children with disabilities exist both within and outside the education system. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated inequalities in education. In times of crisis, coordinated multi-sectoral approaches are even more important to address the complexity and interdependency of children’s care, safety, wellbeing and education. 

The extensive experience of Humanity & Inclusion and its partners across the 27 countries where they implement Inclusive education projects was crucial to develop this report and to nourish it with first-hand expertise and evidence. The Report contains arguments, testimonies, case-studies, and a list of actionable recommendations for governments in low and middle income countries, aid donors, and multilateral agencies

Teachers’ and parents’ attitudes towards inclusion of pupils with a first language other than the language of instruction

KAST, Julia
SCHWAB, Susanne
2020

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Due to the rising linguistic heterogeneity in schools, the inclusion of pupils with a first language other than the language of instruction is one of the major challenges of education systems all over the world. In this paper, attitudes of in-service teachers, pre-service teachers and parents towards the inclusion of pupils with a first language other than the language of instruction are examined. Additionally, as the paper focused on how the participants perceive the development of this pupils in different school settings (fully included, partly included, fully segregated).


Data from 1501 participants were investigated. Descriptive results showed that pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards the inclusive schooling of pupils with different language skills in composite classes were rather positive, while attitudes of in-service teachers and parents rather tend to be neutral. Regarding the results concerning the participants’ attitudes towards the pupils’ development in different school settings, all three sub-groups belief that pupils with German as first language would develop in a more positive way, compared to pupils without German as first language. Moreover, the migration background of pre-service teachers and parents had a positive influence on the participants’ attitudes.
 

Do both ‘get it right’? Inclusion of newly arrived migrant students in Swedish primary schools

TAJIC, Denis
BUNAR, Nihad
2020

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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.

Teaching for inclusion – a review of research on the cooperation between regular teachers and special educators in the work with students in need of special support

PAULSRUD, David
NILHOLM, Claes
2020

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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.

Leaving no one behind in education - A focus on children with disabilities

ADEREMI-IGE, Toyin
KAPUSCINKI DEVELOPMENT LECTURES
November 2020

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This lecture by Dr. Toyin Aderemi-Ige shed light on the educational situation of children with disabilities in low and middle income countries, highlighting how the interaction of multiple discriminatory factors (like gender and disability) results in increased exclusion. The 2030 Agenda sets the commitment to “leave no one behind” and its Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls to ensure inclusive and quality education for all. However, 10 years away from the 2030 deadline, children with disabilities are still significantly excluded from education and, consequently, from life’s opportunities.

 

The event was moderated by Dr. Harlan Koff of the Luxembourg University.

The lecture was followed by a panel discussion with:

  • Catherine Léglu, Vice-rector for Academic Affairs, University of Luxembourg
  • Julia McGeown, Global Education Specialist, Handicap International
  • Graham Lang, Chief of Education at Education Cannot Wait

Ensuring the right to quality inclusive education for persons with disabilities: From commitment to action

UNESCO
November 2020

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The international symposium "Ensuring the right to quality inclusive education for persons with disabilities: From commitment to action", co-organized by UNESCO, the Leonard Cheshire, and the Ministry of Education of Portugal brought together a wide range of stakeholders across the globe to discuss progress, successes achieved and challenges to ensure full participation and access to quality learning opportunities for all learners.

The symposium aims were to:

  • review persisting, as well as new challenges, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that are hindering the fulfilment of the right to inclusive education for learners with disabilities.
  • facilitate the exchange of experiences on factors influencing successful inclusive policies and practices for learners with disabilities and strengthen dialogue and cooperation amongst stakeholders at policy and practice levels.
  • explore how the inclusion of learners with disabilities in inclusive settings can be more effectively addressed by governments with regards to the commitments of Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the CRPD General Comment 4 on article 24, and Sustainable Development 4 SDG 4, to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The programme included:

Opening session - Accelerating efforts towards inclusive education for learners with disabilities. (Video recording: English - French - Spanish)

Session 1 - From legislation to inclusive practices: Re-designing policy frameworks, funding and monitoring arrangements across sectors for inclusive education for learners with disabilities. (Video recording: English - French - Spanish)

Session 2 - Revisiting the teaching and learning process to ensure access and participation of learners with disabilities.

Session 3 - Moving towards inclusive and safe learning environments, including by addressing violence and bullying against learners with disabilities.
 

Closing session - Rebuilding a Stronger Global Disability Inclusive Education System post COVID-19. (Video recording: English - French - Spanish)

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