AN EMPIRICAL STUDY OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE TEACHING OF BIOLOGY IN RURAL AREAS

  RESEARCH PROPOSAL Chapter One: Introduction Inclusive education suggests and implies that every child, youth and adult irrespective of sex, race and any other distinguishing factor is entitled to education (Okeke, 2008). Inclusion is a new way of thinking about specialised education. The shift from special education to inclusive education signals a dramatic philosophical change. Inclusion is a belief in the inherent right of all persons to participate meaningfully in society. Inclusive education implies acceptance of differences and making room for persons who would otherwise be excluded. This practice of educating children who have disabilities together with their non-disabled peers means creating learning communities that appreciate and respond to the diverse need of its members (Eskay, 2009). Since the launching of the first National Policy on Education (1977), there has been a plethora of activities aimed at improving special education services for children, including: the establishment of additional residential primary schools for children with disabilities in most states of the federation, the increased attendance of students with disabilities in secondary and higher institutions, and the preparation of special education teachers in select tertiary institutions in the country. There has also been a rise in the number of advocacy organizations of and for people with disabilities. These initiatives have however been met with mixed outcomes, with dually-trained special educators (i.e. those holding certification in an area of special education and a subject-matter discipline such as Biology) not properly deployed to work with students with disabilities. Other persistent problems over the years include: lack of up-to-date teaching devices, and organizational and leadership crises that have militated against reform of the special education sector. Interestingly enough, Section 7 of the revised National Policy on Education (2008) explicitly recognizes that children and youth with special needs shall be provided with inclusive education services. The commitment is made to equalize educational opportunities for all children, irrespective of their physical, sensory, mental, psychological or emotional disabilities. Undoubtedly, these are lofty goals intended to improve the quality of inclusion education services, but much more is needed to translate the goals into concrete action especially in the rural areas. Chapter Two: Literature Review Chapter two focuses on the literature review; and examines if Biology teachers’ biographical factors (gender, teaching experience and phase of the school) have any influence on their knowledge about inclusive education and a student with special educational needs. Chapter Three: Research Methodology This chapter presents

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