Implementation of Inclusive Education Policy in Secondary Schools in Zambia
Keywords: inclusive education, education policy, children with disabilities, Zambia
AbstractZambia adopted its first inclusive education policy in 1996. Since that time, teachers have been critical for the successful implementation of the inclusive education policy. With sufficient training and leadership, they have been found to support policy and facilitate its implementation. However, to date the majority of inclusive education research in Zambia has been conducted at the primary school level with a dearth of studies having been conducted at the secondary level. This study explored inclusive education policy implementation in secondary schools in Zambia from the perspectives of teachers and school administrators. A Mixed-methods study was conducted across two schools in one province of Zambia. Study participants were purposively sampled. Thirty-two purposively selected teachers responded to a survey and four senior school administrators participated in semi-structured interviews. Document review examined the schools’ inclusive education policies. Analysis included descriptive statistics for quantitative survey data and thematic analysis for the qualitative interview data. Triangulating the survey, interview, and document data enhanced the reliability of the study. The findings suggest that educators in Zambia face challenges that hinder the full implementation of inclusive education including a lack of clear and coordinated school inclusive policy guidelines, inadequate government funding, and inadequate provision of teaching and learning resources. The findings also suggest that there are facilitators of inclusive education policy in Zambia, including teachers who fully support the inclusion of pupils with special education needs and communities that support schools by subsidizing finances to provide required resources for pupils. This study furthers the understanding of challenges and facilitators of inclusive education policy implementation in secondary schools and provides recommendations for the education sector at the national, provincial, and district levels.