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  • FACULTY OF EDUCATION

    Martinez Madrid, Diego

    Implementing inclusive education in Namibian primary schools: from policies to practice

    Masters Thesis in Education

    Master's Degree Programme in Education and Globalisation

    2015

  • Faculty of Education Thesis abstract Department of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education Master's Degree Programme in Education and Globalisation

    Author Diego Martinez Madrid

    Title Implementing inclusive education in Namibian primary schools: from policies to practice

    Major subject Education

    Type of thesis Masters thesis

    Year 2015

    Number of pages 112 + appendices (6)

    Abstract This study set out to explore the issues of inclusive education in primary education in Namibia. The specific research questions were:

    1. How does Namibia address the issue of inclusive education in its educational policies and practices?

    2. What are the main successes and challenges in the implementation of inclusive policies?

    The research is a qualitative study and the data consists of the analysis of current Namibian policy documents related to inclusive education and interviews of seven Namibian experts in the field of education. The data was analysed by applying content analysis approach. The theoretical framework consists of theories of inclusion and inclusive education as well as the concepts and aims of Education for All global approach. The findings show that Namibia has made relevant progress in universal access to education with the percentage of 99,6% in 2012. This is particularly significant taking into account the legacy of Apartheid, which ended after Namibia gained independence only twenty-five years ago. Another area of success is gender equality, which interviewees reported to have been achieved with the exception of two regions. At the moment it seems that more attention needs to be paid to boys, as girls seem to do better in school and stay in school longer than boys. Quality of education is a source of much concern in Namibia. The diversity of languages and ethnic groups as well as life circumstances makes it challenging to organize inclusive relevant education for all. The language of instruction is a debated topic and forms a different challenge in urban and rural areas. There is also a shortage of qualified teachers and relevant, culture-sensitive teaching materials in all the local languages. In principle education is free of charge but some other expenses cause difficulties for children from poor backgrounds. HIV has had dramatic effects on society increasing the number of orphans and children who are responsible for their younger siblings, which has an effect on school performance. Community involvement was emphasizes as a condition to increase inclusion. Namibian educational policies demonstrate commitment to educational development with a special concern regarding inclusive education. However, there are gaps between policy and its implementation. Interviews emphasised that efficient policy guidance and monitoring is needed to identify the bottlenecks in implementation and to plan concrete actions to develop inclusive education further. Keywords Namibia, Inclusive education, Namibian educational policies, EFA, inclusion, exclusion,

    access to education, equity, equality, quality

  • Happiness is only real when shared.

    Christopher McCandless

  • Acknowledgments

    I am profoundly grateful to my supervisor Rauni Rsnen, who has guided and supported

    my research from the very beginning. I am sure I could have not accomplished what I have

    without her encouragement, guidance and support during the entire research process. Her

    involvement in my thesis highly motivated me to keep on track. I am thankful to my co-

    supervisor Johanna Lampinen for all the discussions about Namibia that truly helped to

    focus my research, and also thank to Katri Jokikokko for giving me some advices

    concerning the research process.

    This thesis could have not been possible without the people I have met during my time in

    Namibia, who made my stay in the country such a beautiful experience. I am especially

    grateful to Dr. Cynthy Haihambo, who took me to various study trips throughout the

    country. Also, I am thankful to all the participants in the interviews for leaving aside part

    of their busy agenda in order to help me with my thesis.

    Thanks also to my friends in Finland who have supported me, even when the thesis

    deadline seemed to be unreachable. I am especially grateful to David, Nicolas, Anil and

    Leo for the guidance and advices, and also for letting me have some fun whenever I had

    some free time.

    And finally, thanks to the North-South-South Program. This kind of co-operation program

    really helps to realise that no matter how far people live from each other, what unites us is

    greater than what divides us.

  • Abbreviations

    ADB African Development Bank AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome CBS Central Bureau of Statistics EFA Education For All ETSIP Education and Training Sector Improvement Program GDP Gross Domestic Product GIEWS Global Information on Early Warning System GNP Gross National Product GRN Government of the Republic of Namibia HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus MDGs Millennium Development Goals MoE Ministry of Education MoHSS Ministry of Health and Social Services NGO Non-Governmental Organization NPC National Planning Commission NSA National Statistic Agency NDP National Development Plan OVC Orphans and Vulnerable Children SADC Southern African Development Community SACMEQ Southern and Eastern Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality SFP School Feeding Program OPO Ovambolands Peoples Organization OXFAM Oxford Committee for Famine Relief

  • SFP School Feeding Program SWAPO South West African People Organization UN United Nations UNDP United Nations Development Program UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNICEF United Nations Childrens Fund UPE Universal Primary Education USAID United State Agency for International Development WCEFA World Conference on Education For All

  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments

    Abbreviations

    1. Introduction ......................................................................................................................1

    1.2 Research justification.................................................................................................3 1.3 Purpose and focus of the research ............................................................................4 1.4 Limitations of the research ........................................................................................5 1.5 Thesis structure ..........................................................................................................6

    2. The Namibian context ......................................................................................................8

    2.1 Geography ...................................................................................................................8 2.2 Demography................................................................................................................9 2.3 Languages .................................................................................................................11 2.4 Religion......................................................................................................................12 2.5 Brief History of Namibia .........................................................................................12

    2.5.1 German colonisation (1884-1915) ......................................................................13 2.5.2 South African rule ...............................................................................................14

    2.6 Present situation .......................................................................................................14 2.6.1 Politics and economy ..........................................................................................14 2.6.2 Present challenges ...............................................................................................17

    3. The educational context in Namibia .............................................................................19

    3.1 Education before independence ..............................................................................19 3.2 After Independence ..................................................................................................21

    3.2.1 The current situation in education .......................................................................21 3.2.2 Current educational challenges ...........................................................................23

    4. Inclusive Education ........................................................................................................26

    4.1 Inclusion, integration and segregation ...................................................................26 4.2 Approaches to inclusive education .........................................................................27

    4.2.1 Special needs versus a comprehensive approach ................................................28 4.2.2 Education for All as an approach to inclusion ....................................................29

    4.3 Means to achieve inclusive education .....................................................................29 4.4 Globalisation and localisation of inclusion ..........