Teacher Perceptions of Inclusive Education: Case of Solwezi District Basic Schools

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Ndonyo, Thomas Mbunji
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Inclusive education is a new phenomenon in the Zambian education system. It has been implemented in some districts of'North-Western Province. One of the districts implementing it is Solwezi. Since it is a new phenomenon, it has had some problems in its implementation. The purpose of the study was to find out teachers' perception of Inclusive Education being practiced in some schools in Solwezi District of North-western Province of Zambia. In the study, Inclusive education is the practice of integrating pupils with disabilities in the mainstream where they learn side by side with the able-bodied and are taught by the same teachers, use the same equipment, use the same curriculum, the same timetable and the same environment. The study was made up of 80 respondents. The respondents were made up of Ordinary teachers (N=40), Specialist teachers from special Education Schools and Units (N=20) and Teacher Training Lecturers (N=20) from Solwezi College of Education (Solwezi Teachers Training College). Questionnaires were used to collect information from respondents. Emerging themes were established from the coded and grouped data. Simple graphs, tables and charts were used to record the qualitative data obtained. The study found that ordinary teachers, specialist teachers and the teacher trainers were all not in favour of including pupils with disabilities in mainstream schools, Ordinary basic school teachers have no expertise to handle pupils with disabilities who are included in the ordinary schools, ordinary schools are not yet ready for the inclusive Education programme, the location of the school does not affect the teachers views of Inclusive education, Ordinary schools do not have the necessary equipment and facilities to help in the implementation of the programme, ordinary non-disabled pupils have not accepted pupils with disabilities, Pupils with disabilities are teased by the non-disabled pupils, teachers prefer the inclusion of pupils who are physically disabled, the curriculum for both the Basic Schools and the Teacher Training Colleges should be changed to enable them cater for pupils with disabilities, schools have no teaching and x learning aids and other educational resources and that the schools' infrastructure and environment are not conducive for Inclusive Education programme. In view of the findings, it is recommended that specialist teachers should sensitise and train the ordinary teachers in methods of handling pupils with disabilities. The schools should be made disability friendly and be provided with all the necessary school requisites for effective provision of Inclusive Education. Both the Basic school and teacher training curriculum should be modified to enable them have the aspect of special education.
Inclusive Education---Zambia , Special Education---Solwezi, Zambia