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The intentions of secondary school teachers towards practising inclusive education in Ghana

Opoku, MP ORCID: 0000-0001-7620-0007 2020 , 'The intentions of secondary school teachers towards practising inclusive education in Ghana', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The importance of inclusive education in achieving an inclusive society cannot be overemphasised. In Ghana, though the government has taken steps to implement inclusive education at all levels of education, empirical evidence suggests that schools have been struggling to include students with disabilities. However, the challenges reported in the Ghanaian literature are mainly limited to the experiences of basic school teachers (year 1 – 9; Paper 1). In the contemporary context there is a global agenda, led by the United Nations and advocated through the Sustainable Development Goals, to eliminate extreme poverty. This international body has encouraged countries to extend universal access to education from primary to secondary schools. In the Ghanaian context, the effectiveness of inclusive practices in secondary schools is unresearched. Therefore, the main aim of this study is to understand the intentions of secondary school teachers with respect to practising inclusive education for students with disabilities.
I adopted Ajzen’s (1991) theory of planned behaviour (TPB) as a theoretical framework for this study (Paper 2). The study is situated within a pragmatic research paradigm which supports the use of a mixed methods sequential explanatory design. Questionnaires, designed based on Ajzen’s conceptualisation of the TPB, were used to collect data from 457 teachers recruited from 35 schools in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. In addition, an interview guide was developed from the main instruments to gain insights about inclusive practices in secondary schools from school leaders and special educators. While teachers were responding to the questionnaires, school leaders (n=17) and special educators (n=12) were invited and interviewed concurrently. After analysing data from the questionnaires, another interview guide was developed and teachers (n=8) who consented to participate in this second phase were interviewed to discuss key themes that emerged in the results.
I entered data from the completed survey into the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences and calculated the mean scores for the instruments and conducted t-tests and analyses of variance to compare instruments to demographic variables, correlations and hierarchical regression to ascertain the predictors of intentions. Since the study was guided by a theoretical framework, the qualitative data were subjected to thematic analysis.
The mean scores show that teachers were positive on attitudes, self-efficacy and intentions. There were low scores for subjective norms. Only gender, school type and level of teachers were different from each other on the outcome variable, intentions (Paper 3). Two of the three determinants, attitudes and self-efficacy, predicted intentions. Specifically, there was no relationship between subjective norms and intentions (Paper 4). There was divergence between the quantitative and the qualitative data. For instance, while the quantitative data suggested that teachers were high on attitudes, self-efficacy and intentions, the qualitative data showed otherwise (Paper 5). The school leaders and special educators acknowledged that they were unable to support teachers in the classroom because they did not receive much support from the government to teach students with disabilities (papers 6 and 7).
I conclude the thesis with recommendations for policymakers to prioritise teacher education in inclusive education, to change their attitudes, to increase the financial allocation to school leaders to support practice and to provide needed teaching materials for teachers to enhance inclusive practise. I have also discussed other implications of the study findings and limitations and have given directions for future research.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Opoku, MP
Keywords: Inclusive education, Secondary school, Ghana, teachers, School leaders, Special educators
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Copyright 2020 the author

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