Karma Jigyela, Judith A. Millerb, Sofia Mavropoulouc and Jeanette Bermand
a Paro College of Education, Royal University of Bhutan, Paro, Bhutan
b University of New England, School of Education, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
c Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
d University of New England, School of Education, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
(Received 24 March 2020, Final revised version received 05 July 2020)
Within the context of the International Conventions for the rights of children in education, countries around the world have been developing policies and practices to establish universal and inclusive education. A key aspect of this situation is the recognition that parents, who know the rights of children to education and are aware of the education policies and practices, can advocate for, and make informed decisions about, the education of their children. This qualitative study investigated parental awareness and understanding of educational rights and access to educational policy relevant to their children with a disability in Bhutan. Both parents of 13 children with a disability, were individually interviewed to determine their knowledge of policies and rights in inclusive education. Manual thematic analysis of the interview transcripts in combination with computer-assisted analysis (Leximancer, 2016) revealed that the majority of parents (n=21/26) were not aware of the educational rights and policies and had minimal knowledge related to education for their children: however, parents expressed their strong desire to know more. This study highlights the need for greater parental awareness of their children’s rights for participation in schools and provides the basis for initiating parent advocacy groups to support the inclusion of children with a disability in Bhutan.
Keywords: inclusive education, disability, parents, policy, rights, Bhutan