Vol. 9, No. 1, December, 2021

School Principals’ Experiences of Implementing Inclusive Education in Bhutan

Rinchen Dorjia, David Patersonb, Lorraine Grahamc, Judith Millerd and Jeff Baileye

a Samtse College of Education,  Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan

b Faculty of Education, University of Canberra, Australia

c Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia

d School of Education, University of New England, Australia

e Currumbin Qld, Australia


(Received 02 March 2021, Final revised version received 27 May 2021)


The experiences of school principals implementing inclusive education in Bhutan is the focus of this study.  The results draw on data gleaned from structured interviews of six principals (four males and two females) from the SEN integrated schools in Bhutan.  Thematic coding and computational analysis were employed. The results highlighted that these principals were supportive of inclusive education.  Within a short period of implementing the inclusive education program in schools, commendable progress has been achieved, especially in making appropriate accommodations and adjustments through the provision of additional teacher support, differentiation of classroom pedagogy, and modification of the assessment and evaluation of learning outcomes.  The principals reported a strong sense of faith and confidence in the resilience of their teachers, and they emphasised their own commitment to lead inclusive education efforts in their schools.  The positive experiences of the principals are particularly noteworthy in view of the lack of resources, infrastructure, and facilities accessible to all children, the inflexible curriculum, a lack of pre-service and in-service professional learning for teachers and inadequate understanding and knowledge of parents and the Bhutanese society in general. Inclusive Education was identified by the principals as a rights-based approach to education.


Key words:  Inclusive Education; Bhutan; Schools; Principal