Leadership in Implementing Inclusive Education Policy in Early Childhood Education and Care Playrooms in South Africa
- What are the centre managers and teachers’ knowledge and understanding of inclusive education policy?
- What are the challenges that limited the implementation of the IEP/WP6 in South African ECD playrooms/centres?
- What is the role of the Department of Education in implementing the Inclusive Education Policy in Early Childhood Education and Care playrooms?
2. Literature Review
2.1. Accommodating Inclusive Education in Early Childhood Care and Education Centres
2.2. Role of the Department of Education for Effective Implementation of IEP/WP6
2.2.1. Leadership from National Level
2.2.2. Leadership from Provincial and District Level
3. Theoretical Framework
4. Research Methodology
5. Findings and Discussion
- Centre managers’ and teachers’ knowledge, understanding, and implementation of inclusive education policy;
- Factors that limited the implementation of the IEP/WP6 in ECCE playrooms/centres; and
- Lack of leadership in the effective implementation of the IEP/WP6 in ECCE playrooms/centres.
5.1. Theme 1 Knowledge, Understanding, and Implementation of IEP/WP6
We know of White Paper 6 when we heard of it in 2003 in the RNCS (Revised National Curriculum Statement) workshops. We talked about special needs children and that they must be accommodated in our schools and centres. We must not discriminate, make sure that they get access to care, and they must be treated fairly. Regarding the aims, we know a little bit, but the principles, we must admit that we have to go back and read the policy.(CM1)
Our understanding of the policy is the information that we got from the trainers. They told us that it is about special needs learners and that we must teach these learners in our schools and centres. We worked in small groups to discuss the implications of the policy at our centres. We knew that since we are from poor rural areas, all the things the policy is asking will be difficult for us.(CM2)
We have heard of White Paper 6 in our discussion with the centre manager. She informed us that this policy is about helping children with disabilities. She told us that every child has equal rights and that we must not discriminate. We agree that every child must be given a chance to education, no matter what their disabilities are. We do not know the full content of the policy and what it exactly says.(T1)
Regarding the understanding of the policy, we must admit that it is challenging for us to read and understand the policy language. We saw this policy only one when our manager showed us at the meeting. We don’t have copies of this policy.(T2)
Our centre manager is telling us we must implement the policy, but we do not know what we must do. We do what we believe in our hearts; we have to care for these special needs children. We must show them love and care and try as much as possible to teach them the necessary skills.(T3)
5.2. Theme 2: Factors Limiting the Implementation of the Policy
Our biggest challenge in implementing the policy is that we had no training. Furthermore, as teachers, we do not have a copy of the policy document in our files. We want training on the policy, what this policy expects from us as teachers, what we have to do to implement in our playrooms. We don’t get support from the Department on how we should implement the policy.(CM2)
To implement any policy, money is needed. In our rural schools, we do not have the funds or facilities.(T1)
Look at our classrooms; we don’t have carpets, mattresses, cots for our babies, blankets, toys, jungle-gym, crayon, paper, etc. We cannot afford these but have to rely on the goodwill of our poor parents.(T2)
The Department says that because we are not registered with Social Development, we do not qualify for the subsidy.(CM2)
In rural areas, we don’t have a proper playroom for our children. The condition is terrible, broken windows, no ceiling, no toys, nothing to stimulate them (T3). Even our playground is not a safe place. Most of the time, we have to keep our children indoors. This is not adequate stimulation for them (T2). We need money to make sure our school environment is conducive to learning.(CM3)
5.3. Theme 3: The Role of the Department of Education in the Effective Implementation of the IEP/WP6 in ECCE Playrooms/Centres
We need support from the Departments, but they ignore us most of the time. It is challenging to get the department official to come and visit us. We want support in training us on Inclusive Education (CM1). We would like the subject advisor to give us some training on how to implement the policy, share insights about the policy, and share what other centres are doing so that we can learn from this.(CM3)
If we know and meet with the Department at least once a month, they can show us what we must do with the policy, and then we can come back to our school and implement. It is our responsibility to make sure our children are getting the best.(CM3)
We know that we must do something for inclusive education, but we don’t have the resources to help us. It is nice to know about all the policies, but we must get help from the department too. At least they should give us good resources such as furniture, carpets, blankets, toys, proper toilets, and facilities for our children.(CM2)
6. Conclusions and Recommendations
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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Bipath, K.; Tebekana, J.; Venketsamy, R. Leadership in Implementing Inclusive Education Policy in Early Childhood Education and Care Playrooms in South Africa. Educ. Sci. 2021, 11, 815. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11120815
Bipath K, Tebekana J, Venketsamy R. Leadership in Implementing Inclusive Education Policy in Early Childhood Education and Care Playrooms in South Africa. Education Sciences. 2021; 11(12):815. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11120815Chicago/Turabian Style
Bipath, Keshni, Jongiwe Tebekana, and Roy Venketsamy. 2021. "Leadership in Implementing Inclusive Education Policy in Early Childhood Education and Care Playrooms in South Africa" Education Sciences 11, no. 12: 815. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11120815