Research Key

Barriers To Inclusiveness And The Implementation Of Inclusive Practices In Secondary Schools In Buea Municipality

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Educational Psychology
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International: $20
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The aim of this research project was to investigate the barriers to inclusiveness and implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools in the Buea Municipality. This study was guided by the following specific objectives: To examine measures the Cameroonian government made improve the implementation of inclusive practices in the Buea Municipality, To examine the efficiency of implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools in the Buea Municipality been effective. to identify the challenges of implementing inclusive practices in secondary schools in the Buea municipality . Theories used in this study included the system theory and complimented by a survey research design with a sample size of 30 participants. Questionnaires were used to collect the data and descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. The findings of this study for hypothesis 1 revealed that the Cameroon  government has played a very significant role in implementing inclusive education. The findings of this study for hypothesis 2 reveal that the implementation of inclusive practices in the Buea Municipality was not effective .And lastly the findings on the last research question revealed that there are a number of difficulties that affect the implementation of inclusive practices in the Buea Municipality

Chapter One


1.1 Background To The Study

Education is the fundamental right of every child, the purpose of which is to ensure that all students gain access to knowledge, skills, and information that will prepare them to contribute to communities and workplaces in new era. (Smith, DD., & Bryant, B R. 2008) Inclusive education is a developmental approach seeking to address the learning needs of all children, youth and adults with a specific focus on those who are vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion. An increasing number of publications, policy papers, workshops etc (Agbenyega, J.2007). have supported the ideology of inclusion. Inclusive education means that all children, regardless of their ability level, are included in a mainstream classroom, or in the most appropriate or least restrictive environment, that students of all ability levels are taught as equals, and that teachers must adjust their curriculum and teaching methodologies so that all students benefit (Benu, E.2012). This also avoids wasting resources, and “shattered hopes,” which often occurs in classrooms that are “one size fits all.” There has been an increasing interest in inclusive education over the last two decades. During this period, researchers that have done considerable amount of research on children with disabilities and their successful functioning in the society have promoted integration of these children who would traditionally be placed in special schools. The logic behind this assertion could be like any other normal person, individuals with disabilities are influenced by similar social, economic, political and other challenges in the society they need to cope up with (Gardner, R., & Lambert, W. (1972).

Historically, the fight for implementation of inclusive practices in education is not a new reality in Cameroon and has even existed for decades around the world. The move towards inclusiveness and the implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools is grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) in which access to education for all became a fundamental and inalienable human right. (Smith, DD., & Bryant, B R. 2008)  The UN has taken upon itself to promote such human rights and specifically regarding education, UNESCO (one of its sectors responsible for the promotion of education, science and culture) has been engaged for the past 3 to 4 decades in the fight against educational exclusion. Article 28 of the UN convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) raises the question of special needs education insisting that it has to “form part of an overall educational strategy and indeed new social and economic policies” and above all calls for major reforms in ordinary schools. Also, Article 23, 28 and 29 of the same convention focusing on CWD stipulates that “a child with physical or mental disability should enjoy decent life and should have access to education. In order to achieve this, primary education should be made compulsory and free to all” In the 1990s, UNESCO held a number of conferences around the world with insightful outcomes geared towards the provision of education for all children without exception. Such conferences include; the Education for All (EFA) (1990) and the Salamanca Conference (1994) (Fakolade, OA,Adeniyi,SO.&Adeyinka,T.2009). The World Education Conference in Jomtien Thailand (1990) raised concerns related to education for all. Article 3 of its declaration apart from advocating a breakaway from rigid prescriptive educational systems towards flexible ones, recognized the existence of disparities, and acknowledged the vulnerability of particular groups with the inherent discrimination exerted on them in education. The declaration therefore agreed that active commitment must be made to remove this disparity and every person with disabilities “who should not suffer any discrimination in access to learning opportunities” (UNESCO 1990:5) should be provided with normal education as an integral part of the educational system (Smith, DD., & Bryant, B R. 2008)  This emphasized the need for IE as against exclusive education.

In Cameroon, inclusiveness and the combat against practices that prevent the implementation of inclusive practices in the Cameroon education system is a reality both the Cameroon government and civil society have been battling with for a long time (Hooker, M.2007). It should be recalled that Cameroon is a signatory to all the international conventions and policies discussed above. This means in essence that such policies need to be applied in the country. However, in addition to this there are still national policies geared towards ensuring access to education for all including learners with challenges. Law No 83/013 of 21st July 1983 and its decree of application Law No 90/156 of 26th November 1990 provides general dispositions and practical modalities for the protection of persons with disabilities (Lipsky,DK.,& Gartner, A.1997). Though not mentioned in clear terms, these laws all reflect inclusive practices that are cherished the world over. For example, article 30, 5, 6 and 9 of this law states that “Families should provide their children with disabilities access to regular schools. In addition, an age waver should be granted persons with disabilities to be admitted into various educational institutions on the request of CWD and their guardians and the state should bear part of the charge by admitting them to educational institutions” SEEPD (2011:5). Article 9 of this law emphasizes that building plans should comprise necessary facilities that could ease access to public buildings by persons with impairments. With regards to practical modalities, Law No 90/156 of 26th November 1990. Articles 35 and 7 state that, pupils/students with disabilities should be allowed to repeat a class two times when failure is a result of their handicap. While fixing the quotas of educational assistance in kind and cash, Article 6 insists that such aid could cover complete or partial school fee requirements. While giving subventions to schools engaged in the educations of CWD, Article 4 states that qualified personnel could be posted to these schools by the state. In which case, adolescents admitted in mainstream schools would be able to benefit from pedagogic support and follow-up by teachers. (Lipsky, D K., & Gartner, A.1997). This emphasizes the need for training of many more teachers so as to imbibe them with inclusive teaching strategies that could be used in an inclusive set up. Recently, law No 2010/002 of 13 April while reemphasizing dispositions in the laws discussed previously, insists on the welfare of CWD and psychological support which according to section 17 “shall aim at strengthening the psychological capacity, developing self-esteem, strengthening relationships with the living environment in order to reconcile CWD and others”. This in effect is the essence of IE which in practical terms could be observed in the provision of leisure activities like sports and physical education programs in schools and university systems as stipulated by section 37 of this law ( Lipsky, D K., & Gartner, A.1997). By exempting CWD from paying school fees, article 29 facilitates access to education for them. Any law without sanctions for defaulters renders reinforcement and application challenging. Section 45 of this law takes care of this insisting that punishment be levied for school officials guilty of discrimination in admitting students/pupils with impairments. Punishment for such cases could range from 3 to 6 months’ imprisonment and a fine of 100.000CFAFrs to 1000.000CFAFrs

Contextually, Though the fight against barriers to inclusiveness and the implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools had been taking primordial positions in the educational world both in the west and in Africa, Cameroon was still to join the train. The word started loaming in the educational family in Cameroon through the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board (CBCHB) program SEEPD (Socio-Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities). The CBCHB had been running programs in special education following especially the medical model with a number of special schools here and there such as; The Integrated School for the Blind in Kumbo and The School for the Deaf in Mbingo. Teachers in these schools had acquired knowledge through special seminars in and out of Cameroon and could equally train other home based teachers. A glimpse of change started lingering when children from these schools were integrated into mainstream schools and allowed to cope with mainstream teachers who had little or no knowledge about handling learners with impairments (Salend, S J. 2001).Though integration had its own loopholes, it was at least a progressive move from special education to integrated education. A number of educated people with impairments in Cameroon today are products of this integrated approach. It was not until 2009 that the SEEPD program reviewed its education agenda that was hitherto centered on encouraging CWD to attend school and increasing their performance in examinations, to moving these children from their specialized centers to mainstream schools, and not just allowing them there to survive as was the case before, but building capacity for teachers to be able to handle not only these learners with impairments but all other learners in the classroom. These were mile steps toward the birth of inclusion in Cameroon. Given that this was relatively new to a number of stakeholders in the educational family, the SEEPD program started up with sensitization geared towards changing attitudes, conceptions and perceptions about persons living with impairments from the local communities to the school milieu. Given that attitudes are a very sensitive issue in human development and changing them does not end in creating awareness, there was need for practical implementation of IE to serve as an example. The 2010/2011 training workshops organized by the SEEPD program were aimed at building and reinforcing capacities for stakeholders in education (Loreman, T., Deppler, J., & Harvey, D. 2005) These workshops saw the participation of teachers from both the primary and secondary sectors of education and their respective ministries. In these workshops, reports on challenges in the field are discussed in plenary and suggestions on ameliorations and accommodations made. It should be recalled that one of the aims of these interactions is to develop a model of inclusive education that would be applicable within the realities of the Cameroonian context. The underlying objective here is to address and respond to the diversity of needs of all learners by increasing participation in learning and reducing exclusion as much as possible in education as stipulated by UNESCO (2004)

Theoretically, the concept of Inclusiveness is one which has been extensively covered from various perspectives and defined by various scholars, from a linguistic perspective, according to the Oxford leaners dictionary the term is derived from the verb to include which means “to have as a component part, to enclose within, to place in a general category aggregate” The last dimension; that is, placing in a general category, very much ties with inclusive practice in education. Inclusion could therefore be conceptualized as placing in a general category aggregate. In which case, inclusive education would mean placing every stakeholder especially learners, within a general category without distinction. (Distinction here regarded in terms of learner challenges) It should be recalled that though inclusion is essentially rooted on the principle above, its practice is diversified as observed in the definitions below. Views inclusion in terms of a diversity of needs and believes it is the process of addressing and responding to the diversity of such needs. In which case, inclusive education (later IE) would offer strategies for “reaching disabled children and adults and other marginalized or at risk groups” and “getting children into and through school by developing schools that are responsive to the actual diverse needs of the community.

According to UNESCO, implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools means, the school can provide a good education to all pupils irrespective of their varying abilities. (UNESCO 1994.)All children will be treated with respect and ensured equal opportunities to learn together. Inclusive Education means including the children with disabilities in the regular classroom that have been designed for children without disabilities

According to Windyz (2005:3) the term could be well understood if we reflect on its antonym ‘exclusion’ where questions like who is excluded will be involved. Within the Brazilian context, she identifies various social groups that are at risk of exclusion including the poor, those with disabilities, the black child, children with terminal diseases (AIDS, cancer) and thus defines inclusion as “a process of identification and removal of barriers that prevent any pupil at risk of exclusion from accessing the curriculum content.” In practical terms, inclusion would mean “…building a school for all, a school that accepts, respects and cherishes diversity while at the same time considering the individual background of every member of the school community” In the same light, while confirming that IE is “full inclusion of children with diverse abilities in all aspects of schooling” in line with Loreman, Deppeler and Harvery (2005:2) emphasize that the Ghanaian experience outlined in the FCUBE policy is not that of movement and provision of education to learners with disabilities but that of increasing access, retention and participation of all children of school going age.

A number of researchers agree that inclusiveness and the implementation of inclusive practices is both a policy/philosophy and above all a practice (Bryant Smith 2008, Lipsky and Gartner 1997, Rogers 1993, Salend 2001).Fakolade et al (2009:3) believe the practice anchors on the notion that “every child should be an equally valued member of the school culture”.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem in this research is the existence of overwhelming barriers to inclusiveness and poor implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools around Buea. Even though Cameroon government have made efforts towards fighting challenges that prevent proper implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools by ratifying many laws and conventions for example, the inclusive education law of 1990, the 19994 Salamanca, law the EFA decree of 1998 as earlier mentioned. Yet there is a growing population of handicaps not attending school and lack of specialized centers to facilitate inclusion. This is revealed from the most recent statistics by the Ministry of Basic Education in 2009/2010) which states that among the total Cameroon population of about 21 million, 2% representing 420,000 thousand pupils are handicap children among which 73000 (17.4%) are pupils aged 6 to 12 years. It means that the remaining 347,000 (82.6%) that constitutes a majority of this population are vulnerable children who are excluded from school.

Many barriers prevent access to education for children with disabilities in Buea some of which include but are not limited to lack of proper infrastructure, lack of qualified tutors, lack of proper funding, limiting access to enrolment and causing school dropouts among children with disabilities However, this condition is often ignored as most educational facilities in the Buea municipality are constructed without taking into account the concerns and needs of persons with disabilities. . The existing barriers to inclusiveness and poor implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools around Buea has made it difficult for persons with disabilities to acquire the basic skills required to compete with their counterparts without disabilities for employment in most sectors of the economy and most at times this results mental health damage and depression

1.3 Research Questions

General Questions

The big question this research seeks to answer is “to what extend do Barriers to inclusiveness affect the implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools in Buea municipality, south west region of Cameroon

1.3.1 Specific Questions

  1. What measures has the Cameroonian government made improve the implementation of inclusive practices in the Buea Municipality
  2. To what extend has the implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools in the Buea Municipality been effective.
  3. To identify challenges of implementing inclusive practices in secondary schools in the Buea municipality

1.4 Objectives of the Study

General Objectives

The main objective of this research shall be to examine the barriers of inclusiveness and the implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools in the Buea municipality.

1.4.1 Specific Objectives

  1. To examine measures the Cameroonian government made improve the implementation of inclusive practices in the Buea Municipality.
  2. To examine the efficiency of implementation of inclusive practices in secondary schools in the Buea Municipality been effective.
  3. 3 to identify the challenges of implementing inclusive practices in secondary schools in the Buea municipality



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