Readiness of Regular Primary Schools Teachers’ Readiness to Implement Inclusive Education for People with Physical Disabilities in the Buea Sub-Division

Friday, November 18, 2022

Readiness of Regular Primary Schools Teachers’ Readiness to Implement Inclusive Education for People with Physical Disabilities in the Buea Sub-Division

Department: Educational Psychology

No of Pages: 71

Project Code: EPY7

References: Yes

Cost: 5,000XAF Cameroonian

         : $15 for International students

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This study focused on Readiness of regular primary schools’ teachers’ readiness to implement inclusive education for people with physical disabilities in the Buea Sub-division. Specifically, the study sought to establish whether training in special needs education influence implementation of inclusive education in the lower grade primary school and to explore the status of inclusive environment in relation to implementation of inclusive education in the lower grade primary schools.

The study was premised on Vygosky’s Social Development Theory as the theoretical underpinning with a concept of Zone of Proximal Development which maintains that students can learn abstract ideas through the help of informed others. Descriptive survey design was adopted for the study. The study targeted all primary teachers in the mainstream schools.

Stratified, simple random sampling and Purposive sampling techniques were used to sample 30 respondents (Teachers and administrative heads) using a structured questionnaire. Collected data were analyzed Descriptively and data presented using tables. The study findings revealed that all the teachers have received basic training in special needs, but this training was not adequate for them to provide effective lessons for leaners with special needs.

It was also revealed that special units are not well equipped with teaching and learning resources that meets the needs of all inclusive learners. In conclusion, the ministry of education has done very little towards preparing primary school teachers for inclusive education.

The main recommendation is that the ministry of education to ensure inclusive disability type specialization by participating schools and conduct mass training to get enough teachers for all schools with special units.




Education is critical to expanding the life prospects of everyone including people with disabilities. The socialization of children with disabilities (CWDs) through education assumes an unusually important role in societies where social exclusion of pupils with disabilities is significant. The National Policy on Education (2004) recognizes the importance of inclusion or integration of persons with disabilities.

This is to ensure that every child irrespective of his/her physical or mental ability has the right to education together with the normal children. Integration provides opportunities for all citizens, including pupils with disabilities to fully participate at all levels of the society.

Recent moves towards the inclusion of pupils with disabilities in inclusive classrooms have focused attention on how teachers perceive these pupils, what constitutes the educational success of pupils with disabilities in inclusive classrooms, and the ability to provide effective instruction for them.

Lewis (1993) sees integration as a school and societal reform in the education of pupils with disabilities. Educating children with disabilities is essential for independent living, alleviation of poverty and sustainable development.

The impact of keeping disabled children at home and economically inactive, denying them education, as well as impacting family members who are unable to work due to caring responsibilities all contribute significantly to the impoverishment of persons with disabilities, their families and their communities.

At its most basic, equal treatment in education for pupils with disabilities involves equal access to educational opportunities. This means that if all pupils are treated equally without discrimination, making sure that the pupils with disabilities have access to the school environment and facilities, they will be able to complete school and get jobs for themselves without having to rely on others.

However, parents of children with disabilities have reported situations where their children are unable to start school with their peers at the beginning of the school year or are able to attend school only part-time because appropriate support and accommodation are not available (Lewis & Little, 2007).

This research is made up of five chapters that are to explain the research topic, in chapter one we have the general introduction, that welcomes the reader about the topic and tells us more on what will be done in the other chapters.

 In chapter two we have the literature review that elaborates on the background of the study such as the conceptual, historical, theoretical, contextual review of the study and next will be chapter three that makes mention of the research methodology which brigs the different research method that will be used and the population that will carry the research and that will lead us to developing a questionnaire to have a more reliable justification of the topic and more we have chapter four and five that makes up the analysis of the work and conclude the research topic.

Background to the Study

Historically, prior to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (UDHR) which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in Addis Ababa in 1948, many pupils with disabling conditions were excluded from the benefit of a public education (Madaus;, 1989).

Since most countries in the past exempted such pupils from compulsory attendance required by the early 1970s, courts began to recognize that the denial of special education services to the disabled constituted the denial of due process and equal protection.

Once a state makes public education available to all learners, it must make equal educational opportunities available to all pupils (McCarthy and Cameron, 1981) as cited by Madaus, (1989).Philosophies regarding the education of children with disabilities have changes dramatically over the past two decades, and several countries have led in the effort to implement policies which foster the integration, and more recently, inclusion of these pupils into mainstream environments.

Here, although the movement of inclusive education has gained grounds in recent years, a key element in the successful implementation of the policy is the views of the personnel who have the major responsibility of implementing it that is teachers. It is argued that teachers’ beliefs and attitudes are critical in ensuring the success of inclusive practices since teachers’ acceptance of the policy of inclusion is likely to affect their commitment to implementing it (Norwich, 1994)

International bodies, governments, organizations have come to realize the importance of the education of each and every child irrespective of their needs and disabilities. The World Conference on Education for All (EFA) in Jomtien (1990) talked of getting all children to school and giving them the suitable education even though, practically, it did not include children with disabilities.

In 1993, the standard rules on the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities came with a bright future for disabled persons. It was not long in 1994 when the Salamanca Statement on Inclusive Education called for the education of each and every child irrespective of the disability, to be included in school and consideration was made as regards their individual need (UNESCO, 1994).

Conceptually, inclusive education is the process of educating all students in general education classes in their neighborhood schools with quality instructions, intervention and support by providing equitable and quality education to all children without any form of discrimination (Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education (MCIE), 2012; UNESCO, 2016). Yeri (2016) posited that inclusive education involves all learners living with and without disability getting education together and achieve more.

It is where learners living with disability access normal curriculum, increased concentration span, improved literacy and communication skills and develop more friendship resulting to low rates of suspension, low rates of school drop-out hence improved academic achievement and higher rates of employment (National Dissemination Centre for Children with Disability (NDCCD), 2016).

Special needs education mainly focuses on children with developmental disabilities and those who are gifted and talented. These children typically differ from those who are average in mental, sensory, communication, physical, behavioral or emotional developments.

Due to their unique disabilities and characteristics, there is need for modification of school routine, collaborative and respectful school culture for this category of learners to become competent, develop social relationship with their age mates and to be participating members of the school community (Kirk and Gallagher, 2005). Readiness, Teachers' readiness for inclusive education in this study refers to teacher's knowledge and understanding, skills and abilities, and attitudes towards inclusive education.

Research studies have consistently highlighted that teacher readiness for inclusive education is a significant factor for the successful inclusion of students with special educational needs (see Kwon, Hong, and Jeon 2017; Movkebayeva et al. 2016; Pershina, Shamardina, and Luzhbina 2018; Zulfija, Indira, and Elmira 2013). However, there is relatively little evidence on teacher readiness in developing nations such as Maldives.

In the past, researchers have engaged a number of dimensions for measuring teacher readiness. Pershina et al. (2018) for instance, proposed an organisational and personal approach that was based on two major categories, professional readiness and, psychological readiness. As reported by the authors, the professional preparedness was evaluated against specific sub areas which focused on knowledge and skills, while psychological readiness involved areas related to accepting diversity in the teaching and learning processes.

Many researches have been carried out on the implementation of the policy of inclusive education. Literature has shown that the success of inclusive education depends to a large extent on the willingness and the ability of teachers to make accommodation for individuals with disabilities (Heiman, 2004, Vaughn;, 1996).

Some studies also show that teachers who are aware of inclusive policy are willing to be part of the inclusive team while other studies found out that teachers agree that inclusion is important but many find it difficult to apply (Danne & Beirne-Smith, 2000).

Theoretically, this study was guided by Vygosky (1978) theory which underscored the critical importance of culture as well as the importance of the social contexts for cognitive development. His concept of Zone of Proximal Development maintained that learners are able to conceptualize/master concepts and ideas that they cannot understand on their own with the help of an adult or informed other.

In the context of the current study, a pupil-teacher relationship formed the zone of proximal development and came out to be imperative. Teachers’ preparedness therefore, according to Vygosky is combination of determinants forming zone of proximal development.

Through social interaction between the teacher and the pupil the teacher influences the learner to understand even the concepts which appeared abstract. The theory assumes that the teacher helps a learner “socialize” and in the process learn from the wider society, a prototype of which is the inclusive school setting. Nevertheless, it would be more empowering and enabling for teachers to acquire relevant skills to help special needs learners in education benefit in an inclusive setting.

Socialization is an important medium of learning and if learners with SNE are placed in an integrated setting whether through reverse integration or inclusion, then they will socialize with their teachers, ‘normal’ peers which facilitate learning (Yeri, 2016).

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983)

Multiple intelligences are eight or nine ways of demonstrating intellectual ability. It is how an individual learns best. Multiple intelligences theory was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University in his book Frames of Mind.

The theory suggests that traditional ways of testing for intelligence may be biased to certain types of individuals. This theory has emerged from recent cognitive research and “documents the extent to which pupils possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform and understand in different ways”.

According to this theory, we are all able to know the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking and the use of the body to solve problems or to make things, and reach an understanding of other individuals and ourselves.

Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences – the so called profile of intelligences and in the ways in which such intelligences are invoked and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems and progress in various domains”.

According to Gardner, these differences “challenge an educational system that assumes that everyone can learn the same materials in the same way and that a uniform, universal measure suffices to test pupils learning”. He argues that “a contrasting set of assumptions is more likely to be educationally effective. Pupils learn in ways that are identifiably distinctive.

The broad spectrum of pupils and perhaps the society as a whole would be better served if disciplines could be represented in a number of ways and learning could be assessed through a variety of means”. Individuals possess eight or more relatively autonomous intelligences. Individuals draw on these intelligences, individually and corporately, to create products and solve problems that are relevant to the society in which they live.

Furthermore, the eight identified intelligences include; linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, musical intelligence, bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence, naturalistic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence. Recently, the ninth intelligence “existential intelligence” was introduced.

Contextually, in Cameroon, the enactment of the 1995 Education Forum organized by MINEDUC (1995) states that one of the social objectives is the eradication of all forms of discrimination on access to education. In addition, section 35 of Law No 98/004 of 14thApril 1998 to lay down guidelines for education in Cameroon states that “the physical and moral integrity of pupils shall be guaranteed with the educational system”.

Consequently, all forms of discrimination shall be proscribed (Tambo, 2012). Despite the awareness of the human rights educational laws and policies that govern the rights of all pupils to education, a lot of disabled pupils do not receive formal education in both public and private schools. Rather, the few who had the opportunity were isolated from the regular classroom setting to special education centers.

Presently, a number of them do not still receive education in the regular education setting. Decree No 90/1516 of 26 November 1990 to lay down the conditions for the implementation of law No 83/13 of 21 July 1983, revised in 2010, relating to the protection of disabled persons states that disabled children and adolescents shall be educated in normal and special educational establishments.

The decree further states that children with disabilities including those with hearing, visual and mental deficiencies shall receive special education to enable them acquire the needed independence for their enrolment into normal schools. In addition, schools where disabled pupils are enrolled shall if necessary, have specialized staff and appropriate teaching aids for the education of such children.

In order to facilitate the access of disabled children into classrooms, the normal or regular schools which admit them shall as much as possible have the necessary facilities as provided for in article 35 of this decree which states that when carrying out studies on an executing low-cost housing project, the constructing authorities may make provisions for a number of specially designed infrastructures to be used by disabled students with reduced mobility or in wheelchairs.

Decree No 90/1516 of 26 November 1990 to lay down the conditions for the implementation of law No 83/13 of 21 July 1983 relating to the protection of disabled person’s states that disabled pupils shall be allowed to repeat a class twice if their failure is as a result of their physical and mental condition.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in December 1948 made a number of assertions about the inalienable rights of every human being. The declaration guarantees for the individual a whole range of basic freedom of which education is one (Mbua, 2002). Article 26 of the declaration made the following assertions:

  • Everyone has the right to education. This shall be free at least at the elementary and primary stages.
  • Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children (Mbua, 2002).

When teachers have it in mind that everyone has the right to education, they will try to shape their behavior and put in their best to ensure that every child irrespective of their condition receives education freely.

In the 1995 Education Forum organized by MINEDUC, the first reason for the social objective of the forum was “the eradication of all forms of discrimination on access to education (Tambo, 2003). In 1993, the United Nation set Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for persons with disabilities (rule 6) stated that education should be provided in ‘an integrated school setting’ and ‘in the general school setting’.

In Cameroon in general and Buea Sub-division in particular, children with disabilities are still considered as misfits in the society. Many of such children are found in our communities but we don’t find them in schools, and if some are found in there, many eventually drop out. Many teachers and school administrators turn to think that children with disabilities should be educated in special schools than in regular schools with their peers without disabilities.

Inclusive education is an educational system that values the strengths and weaknesses of each individual learner and seeks ways to ensure that each learner benefits from the educational system irrespective of their unique and diverse needs. Inclusive education believes that difference is normal and the school system should restructure itself to meet the unique and diverse needs of learners in the classroom.

As long as the majority of children with disabilities are excluded from education, the EFA goals will not be met (Peters, 2003). The Salamanca Statement (UNESCO, 1994) promoted international commitments of inclusive education to meet the target of achieving EFA goals including children with disabilities (Eleweke and Rodda, 2002).

It is not only focused on access to education but meaningful participation in an inclusive classroom. Inclusive education is recognized as part of the human right agenda in which the people have the right to access education as well as equitable right within education (Florian, 2008).

The government of Cameroon has been trying to prepare the ground for educating pupils with disabilities as advocated by UNESCO’s Education for All (EFA) goals. This has been done through the organization of seminars and workshops within the country, signing and ratification of some legislations and policies internationally and locally.

The University of Buea is also offering special education programs which take into account the focus on inclusive education. Based on the Republic of Cameroon (2013) report on the 53rd session of the African commission on human and people’s right of the African Union, Cameroon has signed a number of instruments to promote and protect the right of Persons with Disabilities (P.W.D).

This include the United Nation Convention on the right of people living with disabilities adopted in New York on 13th December 2006 and signed on 1st October 2008, the Optional Protocol to the United Nation Convention on the right of persons with disabilities adopted in New York on 13th December 2006 and signed on 1st October 2008. Among the legislative and regulatory text adopted at the local level to protect and promote human rights of PWD is law number 2010/002 of 13th April 2010 on the protection of PWD.

As stated by the Ministry of Social Affairs (2015), in order to remedy the discrimination and marginalization faced by PWDs, the government of Cameroon joined the international community in the development of a global policy such as:

  • The adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 13th 2006, and duly signed by Cameroon on October 1st 2008.
  • The effective implementation of the Committee on the Rights of PWD’s in Geneva.
  • The extension of the African Decades of PWD for the 2010-2019 periods.

This is to ensure that the unique need of every child is met.

Due to the 1983 Presidential Decree, other regulations were introduced principally through the initiative of the Ministry of Social Affairs in collaboration with the Ministries of Basic, Secondary and Higher education. In this respect, the following circulars could be cited: Joint Circular No 34/06/JC/MINESEC/MINAS of 2nd August 2006 relating to the admission of CWD’s and children born of needy parents with disabilities into government education establishments; Joint Circular No 283/07/JC/MINESEC/MINAS of 14th August 2007 relating to the identification of CWD’s enrolled in government primary schools, colleges, high schools and participation in official exams.

Moreover, the education sector strategy for 2013-2020 adopted in August 2013 emphasize inclusive education and spells out the following orientations: specific modules will be introduced in the initial training of trainers, sight savers, an international non-governmental organization in collaboration with the Ministries in charge of education, and the Ministry of Social Affairs began to commission studies to organize workshops on inclusive education especially at the primary level of Cameroon.

One of these workshops was held at Ebolowa from 18th-20th December 2013 and recommended:

  • Reviewing the primary school syllabus for the purpose of including inclusive education modules into primary school curriculum.
  • Mobilizing all the Ministries of education and other partners involved in inclusive education for the preparation of strategic and functioning plans for the implementation of inclusive education.

In April 2015, the second Biennal Inclusive Education Symposium in West and Central Africa took place at the University of Buea from 6th-10th April 2015. It had as theme “Perspective of Inclusive Education in West Africa with Multidisciplinary focus: “Including the Excluded”. The attitude of teachers and pre-service teachers’ inclusivity are critical to the success of inclusive practices.

Teacher education has been found to significantly influence attitudes toward inclusive education. Therefore, lack of teacher education and support has also been identified as a barrier to inclusive education. Teachers’ attitudes influence the implementation of inclusive education practices in the classroom (Washington, 2013).

For inclusive education to be eventually effective Buea Sub-Division, the attitude of teachers need to be looked into since they are the ones working with the pupils, and can influence policies that promote inclusive practices in schools. This study aimed at giving an in-depth exploration of primary school teachers’ attitudes about pupils with disabilities in the classroom.

The focus is on primary schools because they provide basic education to the children. If the foundation is well established, these pupils will have a sense of belongingness which might run through the other levels of education.

It is hoped that if the education of this group of people starts at the basic level, all learners will be equipped with both academic and social skills, knowledge and values necessary for their growth and development.

Statement of the Problem

The global need for social justice and the respect of the human rights including the right to education of all persons is a major area of concern. The Cameroon government has made efforts in ratifying many laws and international conventions such as Education for All (EFA), 1990, and the Salamanca Statement of inclusion (UNESCO; 1990, 1994) among others. Despite the existence and awareness of some national education laws, regulations, and policies, practical experience has shown that there is a growing population of disabled pupils not attending school.

There are many children who are not enrolled in school, and if found, eventually drop out before reaching primary six.  Without an education through schooling and effective learning, children with disabilities may not be able to contribute to their individual and societal development; consequently, they tend to rely on others.

When these children are deprived of the right to education due to lack of learning support programmes, pupils with disabilities face segregation and discrimination in education which may affect their wellbeing and normal functioning and may lead to a state of perpetual dependency.

Besides challenges experienced by learners, primary school teachers may lack adequate knowledge and skills to teach disabled pupils. In addition, teachers’ attitudes towards learners with disabilities may also contribute to school dropout as well as academic under-attainment of pupils with disabilities.

Akinlosotu and Nathaniel, (2017) pointed the following to be some of the disorders found in children with disabilities. mental retardation, learning disabilities, emotional and behaviour disorder, communication disorders, hearing loss, blindness and low vision, physical disabilities, autism, severe disabilities, multiple disabilities, deaf/blindness, and gifted and talented.

Scholars have argued that acceptance to include these category of students in a general class depends on teachers’ attitude towards special need students (Fakolade, Adeniyi and Tella, 2009; Florian, 2012; Dukmak, 2013).

Studies in Nigeria has shown that some teacher still have a negative attitude towards inclusion of children with learning difficulties in classroom (Moothedath et al., 2016). Teachers’ attitude has implications on student’s own attitude and their learning outcomes. A teacher’s attitude has the power to enhance or seriously harm the quality of life of students with disabilities.

The integration of students with learning disabilities within the mainstream classroom depends on the teachers as they are considered as mediators in the inclusive education process (Campbell et al., 2003).  In this regard, this study aims at exploring the regular primary schools’ teachers’ readiness to implement inclusive education for people with physical disabilities in the Buea Sub-division and to make useful suggestions to help improve educational services.

Research Objectives

Main Objective

The purpose of this study was to examine regular primary schools’ teachers’ readiness to implement inclusive education for people with physical disabilities in the Buea Sub-division.

Specific Objective

Specifically, the study sought to;

  1. Establish whether training in special needs education influence implementation of inclusive education in the lower grade primary school.
  2. Explore the status of inclusive environment in relation to implementation of inclusive education in the lower grade primary schools.