The inclusion of inclusive education in international development: lessons from Papua New Guinea

This paper concerns the introduction of a new ‘inclusive’ curriculum in Papua New Guinea, with significant levels of support from a bilateral development agency. The Using multiple case studies, the research detailed in this paper sought to identify the forces, influences, and processes shaping the curriculum (the generation of inclusion within the curriculum) and the conformity/nonconformity of the teachers’ practice to the curriculum, including the reasons for this conformity/non-conformity (the mediation of inclusion within the curriculum).

The curriculum is inclusive in the sense that it is designed to meet the diverse, complex, and ever-changing needs of students. Research indicates the curriculum has been shaped by various influences, most particularly Western educational ideology. Research in remote rural schools revealed that stakeholders were unable and unwilling to adopt many of the precepts of the new curriculum, which is considered inappropriate to the local context. Broader analysis indicates that this is likely to be the case elsewhere in PNG. In the light of these findings, it is proposed that international development agencies (IDAs), if they wish to effectively promote inclusive education, should become more ‘inclusive’ organisations – in the sense that they should adopt more responsive and participatory approaches in low income countries.

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