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Inclusive Education in Practice and Teachers’ Preparedness

Summary

A comparative study of Australia and Ghana
Confirmation of candidature presentation by Maxwell Opoku

Start Date

8th Jun 2017 11:00am

End Date

8th Jun 2017 11:45am

Venue

Education Video Conference Rooms:

  • Launceston: NH.A221c.Video
  • Hobart: SB.Hytten325.Video
  • Cradle Coast: CC.A119.Video

Over the years, employment in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field has increased tremendously, and it is anticipated to grow further in coming years. Thurston, Shuman, Middendorf, and Johnson (2015) has projected that 30% of top-level jobs would be in the STEM field over the next decade. With most persons with disabilities found to be idle and unable to have access to jobs (Opoku, Mprah, Dogbe, Moitui, & Badu, 2016), this should be a matter of concern for educational systems to support teaching and learning of STEM to all students. Although there exist economic and cultural differences between Australia and Ghana, they both subscribe to the concept of inclusive education and developed legal frameworks to support its implementation. Thus, this research examines the experiences of STEM teachers, students with disabilities and their parents on the implementation of inclusive education in both Australia and Ghana using Ecological System Theory (EST) as a conceptual framework.

The fight for inclusion has led many to thing that opening up for students with disabilities to have access to general schools will eventually result in an adapted curriculum that suits their interests. However, the argument has now gone past the need for inclusion but now on the degree of inclusion (Ashman, 2014). The search for ways to improve inclusive practices in schools has led to an area which has received less attention - inclusive practices in secondary schools. Implementation of inclusive education has been emphasized in early childhood and primary schools (De Boer, Pijl, & Minnaert, 2011) but secondary school is an opportune time for individuals to discover their future employment and even prepare themselves for postsecondary education. This means that mechanisms put in place to foster the participation of students with disabilities in secondary schools could open economic opportunities for them.

Inclusive education is a revolutionary concept whose implementation has attracted scholarly debates. D'Alessio and Cowan (2013) argued that development of the concept could be made possible through cross-cultural studies. For the purpose of this study, I have limited the study to Australia and Ghana because both countries have similar population characteristics (Jasper, 1987). This study will contribute to academic evidence and literature on inclusive practices on secondary schools in Australia and demonstrate how it could serve as a model for developing countries who intend to adopt an inclusive programme.