Browsing Thesis for Doctor of Education by Author "Alborno, Nadera Emran"
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ItemThe Journey into Inclusive Education: a Case Study of Three Emirati Government Primary Schools(The British University in Dubai (BUiD), 2013-06) Alborno, Nadera EmranThe Ministry of Education (MOE) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) officially launched the general rules for the provision of special education programmes and services under the theme ‘School for All’ in May 2010. This initiative represents the first practical measure by the MOE to implement the Federal Law 29/2006 with regards to the rights of individuals with disabilities and equal access to education; this was in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (UN 2006), which was signed and ratified by the UAE. This research study investigates the implementation of the educational provisions introduced through the ‘School for All’ initiative in the context of three primary government schools in the UAE. The study adopted a qualitative research approach, using a multiple case study methodology, to provide a rich and contextualised picture of the implementation from the perspective of the various stakeholders (principals, teachers, students, parents as well as Ministry officials). Data was collected using qualitative methods of semi-structured interviews, participatory and non-participatory observations, as well as an analysis of documentation and artefacts related to the three schools. The data from each school has been recorded in a context-situated case study format, this was followed by a cross-case analysis that allowed for the collective understanding of the nature of inclusive education in Emirati government primary schools, following the implementation of ‘School for All’ initiative. Over the last two years (2011 – 2012), fifty government schools have joined the initiative, where access has been granted to students with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities to be educated in mainstream classrooms. The provisions and services provided by the initiative have so far concentrated on five school aspects, namely: (1) staff training and development, (2) school structures with respect to students’ placement, accommodations and modifications, (3) support services such as speech therapy, (4) assistive technology and (5) community awareness. The ‘School for All’ initiative aims to introduce a shift towards inclusive education in an attempt to better serve the disabled population. This study explores how the implemented provisions have helped the case schools move towards inclusive cultures, through the development of inclusive policies and practices. It also elicits issues related to inclusion from the stakeholders’ perspectives, as any successful school reform needs to consider their viewpoint and feedback. It draws on the ‘Index for Inclusion’ developed by Booth and Ainscow (2011) in exploring the barriers, as well as the resources to learning and participation with respect to the three school dimensions of cultures, policies and practices. This Index was specifically chosen as it provides a flexible and adaptable framework for developing and evaluating inclusive schools. Themes emerging from the data identify positive system characteristics that should be supported and encouraged, as well as the areas of concern and gaps in practice that need to be addressed in future development plans at both school and Ministry levels. The lack of specific research or reliable data in relation to the implementation of the Federal Law concerning the rights of people with disabilities in the UAE has prompted this research; this study contributes to bridging the research gap in this area