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Title: The inclusion of children with special educational needs in mainstream schools in Egypt
Author: Hassanein, Elsayed Elshabrawy Ahmed
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 5940
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2010
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Following an interpretive-constructivist research approach, this study aimed to explore the complexity of the inclusion of children with special educational needs (SEN) in mainstream schools in the Egyptian context, with a particular focus on teachers' attitudes towards this process. Specifically, the study aimed to investigate a) Egyptian teachers' understanding of and attitudes towards inclusive education; b) the influences and experiences that shaped their attitudes; c) teachers' perceptions about barriers to inclusive education; d) teachers' perceptions about the changes required to put inclusion into practice in Egypt. A further significant aim of the study was to generate some insights from the findings which could be useful to understand inclusion policy in Egypt and to improve future planning and implementation. The study adopted a multi-method design incorporating both quantitative and qualitative methods (questionnaire and interviews) for data collection in two phases. In phase one, 285 Egyptian teachers were selected randomly and responded to the questionnaire. In phase two, twelve teachers with diverse experiences were chosen purposely for conducting the interviews. Data were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The findings of the study suggest that Egyptian teachers tend to hold mildly favourable to favourable attitudes towards inclusion. However, uncertainty and concerns were also expressed about the lack of support, resources, training, time, curriculum and pedagogy, collaboration and social attitudes and beliefs about disability. Therefore, teachers in the current study supported the inclusion of certain categories of children with SEN rather than adopting a zero-rejection model of inclusion. Also, the participating teachers adopted an interactive approach in their understanding of disability, which recognizes the interplay between the within-child factors and the environmental factors. Also, one of the main findings in the current study was teachers' conceptualization of children with SEN as different, regardless of their attitudes towards the inclusion process. Additionally, the findings showed that most teachers adopted a socio-cultural-religious discourse in their understanding of inclusion and disability; a discourse embedded in their religious commitment or at least in their interpretations of the religious values and principles. This discourse supports the calls for considering inclusion and SEN within a cultural model that takes into account the common values about disability in any given context which consequently will affect the educational provision in that context. 6 The findings also indicated that positive teaching experience and in-service training played a role in shaping positive attitudes. Moreover, the findings showed the significant role that the socio-cultural multilayered contexts played in shaping teachers' conceptualizations of inclusion and disability and their attitudes towards inclusion. The findings also showed that barriers to inclusion can be categorized into four categories: structural-organizational, personal, interpersonal and socio-cultural barriers. All types of barriers were shown to be related, and they interacted together to affect teachers' understanding of and attitudes towards inclusion and the way inclusive practices can be developed. Finally, teachers suggested several strategies like, building teachers' commitment, developing national inclusive educational policy and overcoming all the structural-organizational and the cultural barriers in order to put inclusion into practice. Additionally, the study has challenged the traditional and reductionist assumptions of change in the case of inclusion which is based mainly on providing resources. The study argued that unless educational change is tactically directed to the questioning of exclusionary thinking, inclusion will continue to constitute a rhetorical apparition within mainstream settings, with dreadful consequences for the education and welfare of disabled children. Finally, the study ended with utilising its findings with the help of the previous literature to suggest some theoretical implications for developing the theory of inclusion and SEN/disability and attitudes, and providing a set of recommendations for policy, curriculum and pedagogy, teacher education and methodology. Areas for further research investigations are also suggested.
Supervisor: Bayliss, Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available