Reforms needed for the operationalisation of inclusive education in ordinary schools in Zimbabwe


  • Patrick Sibanda Open University, Zimbabwe


Inclusive education, Students with disabilities, Mainstream education


Special Needs Education has evolved from segregation to main streaming and then to inclusion of students with disabilities. This evolutionary process was fuelled by the social need for equality of humanity. This process has been met with fierce idealogical resistance from certain social quotas. The most radical and dynamic changes in Special Needs Education to date, which have withstood such resistance, are those that relate to inclusive education. In response to changes characterising inclusive education, drastic reforms have been experienced in those countries such as the USA and the United Kingdom. These countries have been used as models for the implementation of genuine inclusion of students with disabilities into ordinary schools. This treatise examines reforms of the ordinary school that would save as necessary conditions for successful inclusive education in developing countries such as Zimbabwe. Such reforms relate to the organization and philosophy of the school, the physical and social environment, resourcing, curriculum and policy change processes. Examples from Zimbabwe are used to guide the discussion and the terms ‘inclusive education’, ‘major reforms’ and ‘mainstream/ordinary school’ are immediately defined in order to operationalize the topic. Some of the main reasons for failure of inclusive education in developing countries such as Zimbabwe have been lack of political will and negative social attitudes towards people with disabilities. In the ultimate analysis, the paper concludes that, for inclusive education to operate or function, there is need for a revolutionary change of attitude toward people with disabilities at political, social and professional levels. This should be punctuated with restructuring of the school infrastructure and mainstream curriculum, mainstreaming of social and educational policies to become disability friendly and improved resourcing. Teachers should be re-capacitated to face the challenges that go with inclusive education and community ownership of inclusive initiatives, guided my national policy and support is proposed.


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How to Cite

Sibanda, P. . (2015). Reforms needed for the operationalisation of inclusive education in ordinary schools in Zimbabwe. Scientific Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 4(10), 185-192. Retrieved from



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