Science Education and Provisions for Learners with Physical Disabilities in Public Primary Schools in Dubai: An Investigative Study

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The educational system in the United Arab Emirates is moving towards including students with special educational needs (SEN) in public schools. Studies have examined the services offered for students with different special educational needs in the public sector .However; few studies have examined services offered to students with specific educational need in a specific subject area. This study was carried out in Dubai's cycle one government schools; the focus was on science education for pupils with physical disabilities (PD) in regular classes. It investigated the services offered to them by the educational authorities and the accommodations provided by the science teachers to meet their needs. In addition teachers' concerns about their competency in teaching science to pupils with SEN were explored. Mixed methods were utilized to achieve the study aims. The findings demonstrate a number of areas of concern regarding the services offered for those pupils. The first area is the science curriculum where the standards are not aligned and sufficient learning materials that suit the specific needs for pupils with PD are not provided, whereas another area is the assessment. There is no evidence of precise guidelines for special considerations in assessing pupils with PD in science subject. Physical access was another area that provokes concern. Few modifications are done to facilitate accessibility. The pupils do not also receive any related services (e.g. physical & occupational therapies) which were considered essential to enhance their participation in school activities. Moreover, the science teachers expressed their concerns about competency in teaching pupils with PD. Another finding was that science teachers in Dubai's government schools had never received any training concerns teaching methods, awareness or accommodations issues for pupils with PD. Finally, some recommendations to improve such provisions have been offered.
physical disabilities, primary science, instruction and physical accommodations, science education, primary school, Dubai, educational system, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Special Educational Needs (SEN), science teachers