|dc.description.abstract||The study considers special needs students’ education development in the context of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) education system. In particular, it examines the experiences, perceptions and expectations of three groups involved, which are teachers, parents and special needs students themselves in relation to inclusive practices in mainstream school settings. While some research has been done in other areas of inclusive education in PNG, none has included the point of view of special needs students attaining education in regular class settings. The study aimed at discovering the extent to which the inclusive education (IE) policy and IE practices are enacted in regular schools in Daru, in PNG. IE practices can be found in schools in PNG, but many are not effective. In particular, we know very little about the special needs students’ experiences, perceptions and expectations of IE in regular class environments, as their voices are not often heard.
The study undertaken used a qualitative research approach case study to gather data about IE practices in selected schools in Daru Island of Western Province, Papua New Guinea. The research design used was an embedded “single-case” format that strived to explore the reality of the SN students’ experiences in regular classes through talking to them and the adults in their immediate environment. The case study approach used exploratory, descriptive and explanatory methodologies. In the exploratory part, a research framework was set within the context of the research question. In the descriptive part, the research described the concept of inclusive education and its development towards including SN students in PNG society, and in the explanatory part, it focused on the reasons and result of inclusive practices within the context of the children, teachers and adults who care for them. Specifically, interviews were conducted with four teachers, three parents and a focus group consisting of three special needs students. A mini non-participatory class observation was conducted for supplementary information. Data gathered were analysed using a thematic analysis approach.
The findings reveal that special needs students are very interested in attaining education to fulfil their dreams. Their parents’ continuous support towards their SN children’s personal livelihood development was helpful to their SN children. However, a number of social justice issues greatly impacted on how inclusive education for the SN students concerned was being practiced in regular classrooms. Issues included: lack of access to facilities, unbalanced curriculum, teacher-centred teaching rather than SN student-centred teaching and learning practices, limited resources, negative stereotypical behaviour by non-disabled people and social exclusion. This study concludes that more advocacy programmes and a change of people’s mindset towards dealing with SN students in the schools and community are necessary to combat existing discriminatory attitudes and social segregation of special needs students within regular schools and their community.||