This article traces the evolution of special education policies and services and the introduction of inclusive education as a service delivery model in Vietnam. The impact of a series of inclusion initiation projects and resultant goals of the Ministry of Education and Training to expand inclusive education nationally are described along with the existing barriers to change and a proposed systems change model for facilitating the ongoing expansion of inclusive education throughout the country. A five dimensional model of systems change (vision, skills, incentives, resources, action planning) is used to summarise what has and can be done to promote ongoing systems change in Vietnam.
The success of the Vietnamese model is attributed to a number of factors including the recognition of and fostering of community ownership, creativity and ingenuity. The steering committee for the project included personnel from district education offices, women’s unions, farmers’ unions, religious leaders and other stakeholders. This group was then responsible for putting infrastructure in place, identifying the children and problem solving for the development of the project.
The article recommends: that teachers share their stories to promote IE more widely; that there is an institutionalisation of the new pedagogical practices, developed as part of the project, into teacher preparation programmes; that policy reforms continue, to influence local and national incentives; that financial resources are mobilised as well as the provision of human resources; and that the continued involvement of the community is promoted.
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