Reframing the Challenge of Inclusive Education in Africa

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

The term inclusion captures, in one word, an ideology difficult for societies to sometimes grasp. Regarding individuals with disabilities and special education, inclusion secures opportunities for students with disabilities to learn with their non-disabled friends in general education classrooms. The creation of successful inclusive classrooms varies in complexity, based upon the challenges created knowingly or unknowingly by African traditions or culture. However, a knowledgeable approach and positive attitude by African stakeholders can prove vital to triumph over any obstacles of inclusive education.

Curricular adaptations vary based upon each learner’s individual needs

A knowledgeable approach and positive attitude toward inclusion begin by understanding the concept and the theory behind it. Students with special needs have the right to receive necessary curricular adaptations. Adaptations include accommodations and modifications. Students who receive accommodations are held to the same academic expectations as their general education classmates; on the other hand, modifications entail making changes that lower these expectations. Curricular adaptations vary based upon each learner’s individual needs. Individualized education programs (IEP) list what accommodations or modifications a student should receive.

The complexity involved with integrating students with disabilities into general education classrooms can make this process seem intimidating or overwhelming to a general education teacher. If you feel this way, take comfort in the realization that you are not alone. The fact you find yourself currently exploring this website shows you are journeying down the right path.

As already noted, a knowledgeable approach proves vital to a thriving inclusive environment.

So, be sure to consider these strategies:

  1. Research how to provide the best education for your special needs student. This is never easy because what is best for one child may not be the same for another.

  2. When looking at mainstreaming, special education students “earn” the right to be in a regular classroom for at least one class to see if they are ready for the challenge. Inclusion involves bringing special education services to a child who is in regular classes, rather than bringing the child to the services (in a special education classroom). It focuses on the benefits of being in the class, but the requirements for that student are tailored to the child’s special needs. With full inclusion, all students are brought into the regular classroom, no matter what their disability might be.

  3. Proponents of mainstreaming point to the possible benefits of bringing a special-needs child into the regular classroom. At the same time, they realize that full-time inclusion might not provide the best learning experience for the special-needs child or the other children in the class. Children who are mainstreamed will spend time in a resource room where they can receive more individualized attention from teachers.

Another potential drawback is that a special-needs child can easily get lost in a regular classroom. In some cases, they may be disruptive and may compromise the learning environment of other students. Neither mainstreaming nor any sort of inclusion is right for every child, so it is important that an Individual Education Plan (IEP) be developed for each special-needs child to help them find the balance between regular classroom exposure and getting the attention each need.

Consequently some children will have special needs, and many of these will be discovered by parents, teachers, mentors, employers, and friends throughout our lives.

When addressing the needs of disabled students, it is important to remember the needs of the rest of the class. Including special-needs children in a regular classroom could appear to be challenging and make learning seem difficult for the majority of the class. However, children without special needs can learn a lot about empathy from interacting with children with special needs. Whether a person with a disability is a child or an adult they have more in common with a non-disabled person than they have differences.

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