Inclusive education policy implementation : strategies and challenges for educators.
The purpose of this study is to investigate how Inclusive Education Policy is implemented in three primary schools in the Umlazi District. The study primarily looked at educators challenges, experiences and strategies implored when implementing Inclusive Education practices. It is hoped that educator experiences, challenges and strategies employed, in dealing with diverse learners will help other educators in similar situations. The study made use of a qualitative design as an approach. Data was collected through the use of semi-structured interviews with Super-intendants of Education Management, principals and educators in the senior phase department of the primary schools. Observations were also collected to investigate Inclusive Education Policy practices at the selected schools. The interviews and discussions were tape recorded. The data collected during the interviews and observations was transcribed and organised into themes. The theory adopted in this study is that of policy implementation analysis. This theory posits that two factors are prevalent in policy implementation and these are capacity and will. It is important for these two factors to be considered, when implementing policies. It is priority that policy implementers have proper training, in order for them to implement the policy effectively and successfully. A lack of the understanding of policy can negatively affect the manner in which policy is implemented. The achievement of policy goals depends on those who implement the policy, who may accept or reject the aspect of change, based on support structures in place. The main findings indicate that there are various challenges when Inclusive Education Policy is implemented. Some challenges stem from educators not being properly trained to teach diverse learners in schools. A shortage of resources becomes problematic for educators to implement the policy. Educators are in dire need of support from the Department of Education in order to cope with Inclusive Education Policy implementation expectations. The study recommends that educators receive adequate training before the policy is implemented. Also that departmental officials visit schools, be visible and available to assist educators when they encounter challenges. A further recommendation is that educators receive prior training at tertiary level in IEP and the new curriculum, before they report to schools.This may relieve educators of frustration and stressful factors in implementing Inclusive Education Policy.