Interrogating inclusionary and exclusionary practices : learners of war and flight.
Gopal, Nirmala D.
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There has been a significant increase in the number of undocumented people entering South Africa. A number of them include refugees. Many refugees are destitute and often denied basic needs such as health and education. Besides intentional exclusion by citizens and authorities, some immigrant children are precluded from education because they cannot gain access to schooling. This article captures the possibilities and constraints that are experienced by a selected group of refugee learners, in a school in which these children find themselves.The methodology derives from powerful narratives which are used as tools to analyse exclusionary and inclusionary practices, the relationship between which is presented as bi-directional. It is argued that the notion of exclusion and inclusion is multilayered. Different constructs of inclusion are developed around the thought, practices and experiences of refugee learners within the hosting school community. It is argued that what is offered by the school is a strikingly conservative discourse of perceived inclusion in the ways in which refugee learner practices get constructed. A theory of enforced humanitarianism emerges on the part of the school. It is only when we change this perspective on vulnerability that we are able to accept a more creative and effective way of including refugee learners who constantly believe that they are present in one place, but belong somewhere else.