Students with Disabilities and Challenges in Educational Practice/Učenici s teškoćama i izazovi obrazovne prakse

Dejana Bouillet, Jasna Kudek Mirošević


It is well known that all educational policies promote inclusion as the major idea in a contemporary system of education. Inclusive education allows children with and without disabilities to attend the same age-appropriate classes at their local school, with additional, individually tailored support if needed. However, large equity gaps in education access and outcomes still exist between groups of children, because some marginalized groups of children experience shockingly low rates of access and learning. Children with disabilities are still faced with a lot of challenges in realizing their right to education and they are one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in education.

The Croatian laws clearly indicate that disabled children have the right to an inclusive education and that schools have to provide conditions which lead to successful education of all children. A question arises, however, regarding the level at which the Law is implemented in educational practice, due to the fact that it is unknown whether the conditions for its proper implementation exist in Croatian schools.

Some results of the research which was conducted in the frame of the project “Evidence-based early educational interventions” are presented in this paper. The main goals of the research are (1) to determine areas in which students with disabilities need additional support and (2) to analyse differences in the perceived inclusive dimension of the quality of educational processes, from the perspective of teachers as well as from the perspective of students, in five mainstream Croatian primary schools. The research was conducted on a sample of 97 students with disabilities and 97 of their peers without disabilities. Students and their teachers filled in two Questionnaires about students’ behaviours that were developed for the purpose of the Project (the Questionnaire for students and the Questionnaire for teachers). The results suggested that students with disabilities have a need for additional support in the educational process, as well as support in developing appropriate relationships with peers. However, they do not reach the expected level of socialization and academic success, which indicates that the policy of inclusion is still not well implemented into educational practice. Different reasons for such results and suggestions for overcoming this situation are discussed.

Key words: inclusive education; inclusive policy and practice; quality of education; socialization; students with disabilities.


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