From inclusive education policy to implementation : a case study of a full-service school in uMngeni District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Mnguni, Mafikeni Andries.
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A qualitative case study of the implementation of inclusive education, as promulgated in the South African Department of Education (DoE)’s White Paper 6 (EWP6), in a full-service school is reported in this study. This case study was conducted in uMngeni district in KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa, at Ntabakayikhonjwa Full-Service School. The aims of this study were threefold: To investigate teachers’ understandings and experiences of inclusive education, To understand how this policy translates into practice in a full-service school context, and, To establish what support is available to this school from the district office of the Department of Education as the school implements the inclusive education policy. The theoretical framework that underpinned this study was the theory of diffusion of innovation supported by the two conceptual frameworks, the philosophy of inclusion and school re-culturing. Findings revealed that teachers at this school have a very limited or no understanding of EWP6. Most of the participants in this study constructed different meanings and interpretations of this innovation, and some perceived it as challenging when it comes to implementation. The lack of understanding of the policy of inclusive education suggested that the communication of this innovation from provincial to school levels was problematic and not communicated very well. Further, findings suggested that this school has received insufficient and/or inappropriate support from the DoE in as far as the training of teachers to understand and implement the new innovation. Finally, this study concluded that although the Department of Education has changed structures (developing full-service school) this does not translate into changed school culture and practices. Based on these findings, it is clear that a paradigm shift from the medical model to the social model has not taken place yet. Since this is a new concept in the South African system of education it is recommended that teachers need to be continuously capacitated on this innovation in order to enable them to implement inclusive education in full-service schools successfully.