ERG SES H 06, Secondary Education
Implementation of policies for full inclusion in education for students with disabilities is a continuing challenge globally. It is one faced by many European countries, particularly those effluents. It is also a significant challenge for developing countries like Bangladesh (Rahaman, 2013). This study takes place in Bangladesh with a focus on understanding inclusive education practices for students with disabilities in secondary schools with a particular emphasis on the influence of global policies. In recent years, the inclusion movement has accelerated as a global political rhetoric that provokes debate about how to ensure rights of children with disabilities in education (Barton & Armstrong, 2007). Global policies continually influence the governments of different countries to undertake various measures to include children with disabilities in the mainstream education system. This effect of globalization is creating an enormous challenge for the education system of many developing countries, including Bangladesh, and also changing the dynamics of inclusive education practices for the students with disabilities (Hill & Rahaman, 2013). For instance, alike the countries of European Union, by signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Bangladesh was obligated to initiate inclusive education at all levels of its education system. As a result, the country prepared policies in support of full inclusion, although evidence suggested that most of the schools not be ready to embrace the full inclusion for students with disabilities (Hill & Rahaman, 2013).
The objectives of this study are to (i) to examine the concept of inclusion present in education policy documents in Bangladesh; (ii) to identify the extent of global policies influence in Bangladesh educational initiatives towards inclusion of students with disabilities into mainstream; (iii) to determine and explain conflict between the global values of ‘full inclusion’ and current trends of inclusion of children with disabilities within education system of Bangladesh; and (iv) to explore few good practices examples of contextualised inclusive education practices.
To achieve the above objectives, this study intends to address two central research questions:
‘In what ways is the changing concept of inclusive education practices in Bangladesh seen to have been influenced by global policy expectations for children with disabilities?; And
How inclusive are current educational practices in secondary schools for students with disabilities in Bangladesh?’
Though many theorists have taken different positions on disability and education (Rahaman & Sutherland, 2011), the current research is underpinned by social constructivism (Vygotosky, 1978), where disability is seen as a social construct (Bunch, 1994) and thus substantially shaped by social values and beliefs. Broderick, Mehta-Parekh and Reid (2005) state that “disability is an enacted, interactional process and not an empirical, stable fact or condition” (p.194).
An examination of the global policies’ influence on inclusive education practices for children with disabilities is aligned with the conference focus on education and transition. How future direction of inclusive education practices would take place in the line with global interest without losing local interest would be reflected in the study. The European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education (2012) asserts, “There is now a need to move on from the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of inclusive education to the question of ‘how’ – what policies and strategies are the most effective in raising the achievement of all learners?” (p.20). Therefore, inclusive education should be considered according to specific needs and demands of the society. The path is not straightforward, but requires an exploration of new ways for transforming schools.
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