Aldaihani, Manal (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This study is a comparative analysis of inclusive education for students with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) in Kuwait and England. A central tenet is that despite policies espousing the value of inclusion, implementation has been met with negativity in schools and communities in the Middle East, including Kuwait. The study aims to explore the factors necessary to successfully include such children in mainstream primary schools, with special reference to science classrooms. The present study is located in the fields of comparative education and special education. In order to explore understandings of inclusion in two different contexts, the study applies a comparative ecological framework. The study investigates current practice in Kuwait and England at different levels to reflect the perceptions of the various people involved, namely teachers, students, and parents, by applying an ‘ecological model’. It applies a variety of methods to explore school and classroom practice, trying to identify the influence of key factors at different levels in developing inclusiveness and the barriers hindering this. Inclusive education is considered to be part of a ‘global agenda’ to improve education for all, and is underpinned by United Nation’s policy guidelines. However, comparative research has also shown that this global agenda takes on a ‘local flavour’ in specific countries. In this study, 'comparing' is not the end itself but a dynamic way to understand inclusive education, its origins and application to the Kuwaiti context. This contextualisation is essential in linking the policy level to the factors from the school level within an ecological framework. The results suggest internal and external barriers at different levels to the development of inclusive education for children with MLD, particularly in Kuwait. The main implication of the study is that once these barriers are identified, holistic frameworks can be implemented using knowledge of the local context with international support, to successfully adopt more inclusive practice.
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