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Mainstreaming Inclusive Education In South Africa

Mainstreaming Inclusive Education In South Africa

  • 3 min read

The global pandemic has thrust many sectors into turmoil as nationwide lockdowns have been implemented globally. In South Africa, one sector that is experiencing considerable challenge  and concern is education.

While inclusive education has always been an apex priority of our country, now more than ever, teachers in South Africa need the skills, knowledge and attitudes to teach inclusively in diverse classrooms and communities. On 6 August 2020, the Teaching For All project will host a virtual event for university students to discuss inclusive education in South Africa.

“Through this event, we want to engage with the next generation of school teachers on inclusive education issues and advocate for inclusive education in the system by discussing the roles, responsibilities, opportunities and challenges that teachers will face in a post Covid-19 environment,” says Joanne Newton, Programme Manager: Teaching for All.

Teaching for All is an ambitious material and teacher development project that sees teachers as key change agents and provides them with the tools to teach inclusively in diverse classrooms; thus contributing to a reduction of children being excluded from education

Inclusive education recognises that all children have the ability to learn and the right to quality education to enable them to reach their full potential. In South Africa, despite the substantial gains made in education since 1994, many children continue to be marginalised due to a web of interrelated barriers, which make them vulnerable to educational, social and economic exclusion. Some are denied access, while many pass through the school system, or drop out, without receiving a quality education.

Keynote speaker, Professor Nareadi Phasha, who is a Professor of Inclusive Education at the University of South Africa (UNISA), believes that inclusive education plays a vital role in South Africa’s education sector.

“Previous research has found that teachers have a negative attitude towards pupils with disabilities and we need to ensure that we prepare South Africa’s future students for the fourth industrial revolution and to adapt their teaching practices for diverse classrooms,” she says.

Working with partners and key stakeholders, the Teaching for All project has developed teacher training modules and materials for Bachelor of Education and Postgraduate Certificate in Education programmes. Ten South African universities are currently delivering the training, with the implementation being monitored and evaluated by the Centre for International Education at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. South African Council for Educators (SACE)-endorsed inclusive education in-service programmes are under development for delivery to Provincial Education Departments.

The success of Teaching for All relies on multi-sector partnerships committed to providing quality education for all learners:  British Council, the Department of Basic Education, Department of Higher Education and Training, the University of South Africa and MIET AFRICA. The project is funded by the European Union. 

The virtual event will be live streamed through the British Council’s YouTube Channel