Are We There Yet? Towards the Development of Inclusive Education in One District in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

By Sithabile Ntombela.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Available literature suggests that successful and effective implementation of an educational innovation depends, among other things, on an adequate understanding of the reform among stakeholders in the implementing organizations (e.g., schools). For schools, such understanding can only be achieved by providing professional development for those tasked with implementing the innovation (i.e., teachers) and providing the necessary material and human resources for the innovation. This article reports on a qualitative case study which examined the extent to, and ways in which teachers in the Philani district, KwaZulu-Natal, were trained for the implementation of Education White Paper 6: Special Needs Education – Building an inclusive education and training system (Department of Education, 2001). Findings from the study suggest that the cascade model of professional development used to train teachers in the schools was ineffective as a means of innovation dissemination and as a training strategy for preparing teachers for the implementation of this innovation. As such, adequate understanding of inclusive education failed to take root among teachers and consequently, the desired re-culturing on the schools and classrooms did not occur. This has significant implications for the development of implementation of inclusive school and classroom policies and practices and for building an inclusive education and training system in all districts.

Keywords: Policy, Inclusive Education, Re-Culturing, Information Dissemination, Professional Development

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp.113-122. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.221MB).

Sithabile Ntombela

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Policy Analysis and Capacity Enhancement Unit, Human Sciences Research Council, Durban, South Africa

I have worked in mainstream and special schools as class teacher and principal. I have also worked as a lecturer in the Faculty of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal. In 2007 I obtained a PhD in education and, a year later, joined the HSRC as a post-doc fellow. My research interests are in education, particularly around issues of social justice, diversity and school reform.

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