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Teachers' experiences in implementing inclusive education policy in Papua New Guinea: A study of two primary schools in the National Capital District.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) endorsed its inclusive education policy entitled ‘National Special Education Policy, Plans and Guidelines’ (NSEPPG) in 1993. It is one of the essential documents that PNG formulated in connection to international trends such as the 1990 World Declaration on Education for All and the 1994 Salamanca Statement that advocate that regular schools should accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions to receive education along with their able bodied peers (Smith-Davis, 2002). The NSEPPG provides the cornerstone of how inclusive education is to be achieved across all levels of education in PNG. The PNG government began with initial plans to merge special education practices to inclusive education since 1993 when the inclusive education policy was enacted. The actual progress began in 1994. This landmark document warranted that all children with disability that have remained excluded in regular schools are to access education in their nearby schools without any forms of discrimination. The policy proclaims that teachers’ are responsible to provide the inclusion education for all children through the regular teaching and learning process and the government promised to support the implementation processes. This study was set out to capture this moment in history in two urban primary schools in PNG and to determine the factors that have influenced the implementation of inclusive education policy. The research gazed through Pierre Bourdieu’s three conceptual tools of habitus, field and capital as a theoretical framework to examine twelve experienced teachers’ to story their experiences via focus group and follow-up individual interviews on how they implement inclusive education policy. In correlation to Bourdieu’s concepts habits, field and capital, what teachers experienced during their teaching in the school identified key factors that least facilitated policy implementation processes. The study has recognized a disconnection between the knowledge on inclusive education and the practices of implementation in the field. The study found that despite teachers’ having positive nurturing instinct to support children’s education in view of the Education for All agenda, they are confronted with numerous challenges and complexities as they work to embrace practices of integration and inclusion within their capacities as teachers. The study found that the challenges imposed on teachers were lack of knowledge and skills in inclusive education, large class size, lack of collaborative support system within the school and the education system along with lack of incentives. The recommendations and the reflections put forth in this thesis offer insight into, roles of primary school teachers, school Principals, school inspectors, teacher educators and educational policy makers in general to look again into how this government innovation can better facilitated at the primary school level where vast majority of school aged children cannot be absent from education. The study suggest what teachers and policy makers can learn from the current study to look into the future of inclusive education in PNG to create a connectedness between policy and practice is no rhetoric policy proclamation to actual practice.
Type of thesis
Torombe, R. (2013). Teachers’ experiences in implementing inclusive education policy in Papua New Guinea: A study of two primary schools in the National Capital District. (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7939
University of Waikato
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