Relevance of Inclusion in Education Systems
Table of Contents
Inclusive education encompasses ways in which lessons, classrooms, schools and learning programs can be designed so that all learners acquire knowledge regardless of their disabilities (Reindal 4). It is worth noting that the main aim of education to is to impart knowledge in students. This definition does not discriminate upon learners who are disabled. However, the exclusion of learners with disabilities from the mainstream education system has always disapproved the idea, being a raw deal to the disabled. All children are supposed to learn together regardless of their physical or mental differences. Teaching this group of learners in separate structures and institutions make them lesser beings. This means that even the kind of education that they get is debased. This paper focuses on inclusive education and challenges faced in adopting the system.
According to Vaillant, integration of learners involves responding and addressing the diverseness of the learners’ requirements (386). This is made possible by encouraging their participation of in communal issues while at the same time ensuring the reduction of exclusion in the education systems. Full inclusivity should be the ultimate goal of education facilitators; however, an appropriate mechanism should be put in place to make the objective a more desirable one. Inclusivity does not begin at school but at the communal level because it is an involvement in a larger picture than mere assortment in a classroom situation (Reindal 7). An integrated society is therefore one in which value and respect is given to the ‘weaknesses’ of its members. Inclusiveness, analyzed from the learners ‘perspective encompasses, the commitment to provide children with the maximal education. This should be the kind of knowledge that they would acquire in a neighboring school if not identified as disabled. It has been established that it is because of the exclusion of the Special Needs Children (SNC) in the learning institutions that their registration in the ordinary schools is low.Mastropieri and Scruggs assert that historically, there has been exclusion of children with disabilities in the learning institutions (48). Although, in cases whereby they are included, they are taken to separate settings in which the quality of services and expectations remain low. Besides, it is important to point out that some political actions that have culminated statutory changes have led to the correction of such conditions. Consequently, in most of the societies today, SNC have been able to go through classroom doors to get some basic level education.
Reindal contends that total inclusion with the non-disabled children (NDC) has been the greatest challenge (9). The social Model of Disability for instance advocates for the perception of including SNC in normal learning environments from equality and human rights point of view. Majority of the societal members perceive disability as a fault however, these are just forms of discriminations that are socially created. Through fear, coupled with ignorance and prejudice, practices which are discriminatory develop thereby disabling this group of people, making them ‘more handicapped’. No matter how clichéd the statement is, it is true that disability is not inability. What this means is that treating these children normally may help in shaping them so as to be more productive than if segregated. The SNC are occasionally made by members of the public to believe that it is their fault being different. Even so, it is paramount to note that they being impaired does not make them lesser human beings. Thus, reconstruction of the society and subsequent withdrawal of focus on people’s special needs is the only ‘cure’ to the challenge of disability.
Vaillant affirms that an inclusive learning program should not only be a responsibility of the federal government but also of respective institutions (390). The learning institutions ought to make the necessary adjustments in order to meet the needs of the learners. SNC are likely to face difficulties like inflexible and extensive curriculum; inadequate learning materials and prejudice. Notwithstanding, according to the inclusive learning, the solution for such challenges should not be sought in terms of the impairments but rather the positive impact of such an initiative. It is important to have an in-depth understanding these challenges so that to find a more systematic method of alleviating them. It is the strength of the child that should be looked into but not the impairment. Therefore, no matter how severe the disability is, it is important to keep them in the mainstream education system. There is need to make education system all inclusive because the essence of education is to transform the learners’ thoughts despite their varied special needs. With this kind of insight, Mastopieri and Scruggs guarantee that the learning institutions will be diversified thus accommodating all the learners regardless of their social and intellectual needs (53). Similarly, the gifted children will no longer feel disadvantaged, because this kind of system will definitely respond flexibly to their needs.
Solutions to Challenges Faced in Adopting the System
In accordance to Florian, there is need in making sure that SNC who are excluded in participating in the education system are fully involved in the education system (293). This is only possible if all the barriers that are hindrance to their full participation are broken. Enabling this group of people to access education is of great importance because those who are likely to be dependents are shaped to be self-reliant. All the same, Ahmad warrants that to overcome these challenges, the following factors need to be looked into: Firstly, the improvement of the teacher pupil relationship (65). Teachers should be provided with education on how to handle SNC. Its significance is that whenever teachers have the relevant knowledge on how to handle such kids, they not only develop confidence in their work but also positive attitude towards the learners. Reindal assert that teachers often experience greater pleasure whenever all their students excel (10). It has also been noted that inclusion is embraced more by teachers with skills in handling SNC than those without. Through the pre-service and the in-service training, teachers may be able to handle all the learners more inclusively thus making teaching a profession and not just an ordinary employment.
Secondly is the attitude people have towards SNC. Attitude has always been considered the greatest challenge to integration of learners (Ahmad 72). People’s attitudes have influence on how they perceive challenges, the strategies chosen and the goals achieved. It is generally believed that the actions and behavior of human beings are greatly influenced by attitudes. Slee gives further elaboration on this by stating that people’s attitude is the cause whereas their behavior is the consequence (902). What this means is that various people have varied attitudes which have great impact on the way they perceive, value, judge, handle and interact with SNC. All the same, it is consequential to point out that negative attitude only arises from ignorance. As much as teachers could be willing to make an adoption of inclusivity in the learning contexts, there could be other factors that may influence them either positively or negatively. Similarly, there are also the societal or the communal attitude towards the SNC. For a long time, many societies around the globe have considered the disabled people both socially and physically weak. In fact some communities still hold unto the belief that disabilities are as a result of witchcraft and curses. Because of this, they have experienced higher degrees of isolation, neglect and rejection thus their needs are not sufficiently catered for not only by their families but also by the entire communities (Mastropieri and Scruggs 54). Hence, there is need to enlighten members of the society on such issues so that to change their perception on people with disabilities.
Thirdly is on the funding which is a crucial matter in the implementation of the inclusive learning program. Ahmad states the importance of nations to make good use of the resources that already exist (77). With good mobilization, the countries that look forward to enact such transitions may not even need much funding to effect the idea. Most importantly, dual education which entails both ordinary and special system may be more expensive than single but inclusive education system UNESCO. Considering the above argument, the inclusive education system is a better deal if a country truly aspires to involve every citizen in the acquisition of education.
The fundamental argument behind inclusive form of education is that children are supposed to receive their learning together regardless of their differences. It is worth noting that this kind of learning recognizes and responds to the varied needs of the learners. The system is accommodative to the slow learning children as well as the different learning styles thereby ensuring the provision of quality education to all. This is possible because the system involves appropriate curriculum, teaching strategies, attitude change and proper connection with the society. Although integration in education is still a challenge globally, a lot has been done to enable SNC acquire basic education. Maybe there is need for governments to strive and put this menace to a halt by investing heavily on inclusive learning. There are more advantages when learners are taught together in the same inclusive class setting. Attitude, teacher learner relationship and the socio-cultural factors have been noted to have great impact on the inclusive learning. Even so, it is critical to indicate that the contextual nature of these factors in any learning situation may either be supportive or limitative towards adopting the integrated learning.
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- Florian, Lani. “What counts as evidence of inclusive education?.” European Journal of Special Needs Education (2014).
- Mastropieri, Margo A., and Thomas E. Scruggs. The inclusive classroom: Strategies for effective differentiated instruction. Pearson, 2017.
- Reindal, Solveig M. “Discussing inclusive education: an inquiry into different interpretations and a search for ethical aspects of inclusion using the capabilities approach.” European Journal of Special Needs Education (2016).
- Slee, Roger. “How do we make inclusive education happen when exclusion is a political predisposition?.” International Journal of Inclusive Education 17.8 (2013).
- Vaillant, Denise. “Preparing teachers for inclusive education in Latin America.” Prospects (2011).