04 SES 07 A, Developing Inclusive Education
The “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” strengthens the claim for persons' with disabilities fully effective equal participation in society as condition of achieving well-being. Modern European states as well as the European Union put great efforts in creating adequate policy frameworks to assure general public welfare including quality education for all. They used to count as good-practice models for developing countries. This proposal aims to identify models adopted in a medium developed country that may serve as catalyst for innovations in so called developed countries.
Bolivian schools face learners with diverse economic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. This paper presents selected findings developed from a field study at a pilot project of inclusive schooling in Sucre, Bolivia, using a Grounded Theory Approach, in-class-observations and interviews. Within the first part of the project, which ended in 2012, “Collaboration” emerged as a key element of facilitating and hindering factors for the development of innovative inclusive education practices. Analysing school as organization, it was found that collaboration took place between the two partly contradictory contexts of Structure and Agency. Under the term Structure all items have been summarized, that cannot be changed by actors in the field (e.g. resources). Agency contains all areas of choice by the actors (e.g. teaching methods).
On instructional level, different types of coordinated teaching activities were not only practiced but also gave rise to internal discussions and reflections on the roles of each participant. On organizational level teachers, physiotherapists, psychologists, social workers and parents formed an inclusive learning environment and strived to keep it accessible for all. Collaboration benefited the organizational development of the school as well as the founding centre of persons with disabilities. The school already had established good collaboration with different stakeholders (such as educational authorities and local private institutions). This also inures to the benefit of children with learning difficulties.
In the second phase of the project the role of Bolivian state institutions, policy frameworks and private stakeholders is being researched. In order to build an informed background for processes of policy making/adaptation, it is necessary to understand practices and mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in education. At three levels – namely instructional; school/school system; and community/society level – these practices and mechanisms are analysed to provide an understanding of the role of interaction between public and private institutions in the development of adequate systems of assistance for children with learning difficulties.
How do structural settings have to be arranged to encourage creative ideas challenging exclusion from education? How do schools have to be organized to provide an inclusive learning environment for all and facilitate effective systems of assistance for all children? How do structural settings and personal agency have to be balanced and what factors influence social collaboration and practical innovation in education?
The paper presents preliminary findings that already highlight the important role of interaction between government agencies and civil society institutions in the development of innovative approaches to inclusive quality education for all children.
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