Reforming Teacher Education for Inclusion in Developing Countries in the Asia Pacific Region


Umesh Sharma
Faculty of Education, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

Chris Forlin
Faculty of Education and Human Development, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, China

Joanne Deppeler
Faculty of Education, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

Yang Guang-xue
Faculty of Preschool & Special Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China

(Received 11 September 2012, Final revised version received 05 November 2012)

A number of Asian Pacific countries have ratified the UN Conventions on the Rights of People with Disabilities and have identified an urgent need to include children with special educational needs in regular school programs. Successful implementation of such a policy reform requires significant changes in the way education is provided to all students, but most importantly depends upon how adequately the teachers and related professionals are prepared to implement the reform. This paper reviews research from 13 Asian Pacific countries, undertaken in the last five years, to address two questions. First it reports on the issues, challenges, and proposals related to inclusive education in these countries. Second the review reports on how each region has progressed towards implementing the Millennium Development Goals with particular emphasis on how teacher education has or has not responded to this. The review concludes that a lack of well thought out policy, few resources, and limited understanding of inclusion seems widespread in the Asia-Pacific region. As yet special education and related service expertise and teacher education for inclusion, is not in place to support teachers to work inclusively.

Keywords: Developing countries, inclusion, inclusive education, disability, teachers, teacher education, legislation

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