Obstacles to Implementing Inclusive Primary Education Policy at Municipal Schools in Thailand

Main Article Content

Theeraphong Bualar


This article presents a qualitative study for analyzing barriers to inclusive education policy implementation for students with learning disabilities at municipal primary schools in Thailand.  Findings from face-to-face interviews with key informants and parents show that misunderstandings of school inclusion, negative attitudes of teachers, and little parental engagement limit the active learning opportunities of such students. The author recommends that mayors undertake a leading role in allocating sufficient resources to promote positive attitudes toward inclusive education at municipal primary schools, and explore alternative ways to increase parental involvement.  

Article Details



Ainscow, M. (2006). Developing inclusive education systems: what are the levers for change? Journal of Educational Change, 6(2), 109-124. doi.org/10.1007/s10833-005-1298-4

Ainscow, M., Farrell, P. & Tweddle, D. (2000). Developing policies for inclusive education: A study of the role of local education authorities. International Journal of Inclusive Education. 4(3), 211-229. doi.org/10.1080/13603110050059150

Avramidis, E. & Norwich, B. (2002). Teachers’ attitudes toward integration/ inclusion: a review of the literature. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 17(2), 129-147. doi.org/10.1080/08856250210129056

Bentley-Williams, R. & Morgan, J. (2013). Inclusive Education: Pre-service Teachers’ Reflexive learning on Diversity and Their Challenging Role. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 41(2), 173-185. doi.org/10.1080/1359866X.2013.777024

Brownell, M., Sindelar, P., Kiely, M. & Danielson, L. (2010). Special Education Teacher Quality and Preparation: Exposing Foundations, Constructing a New Model. Exceptional Children, 76(3), 357-377. doi.org/10.1177/001440291007600307

Christenson S.L. (2003). The family-school partnership: An opportunity to promote the learning competence of all students. School Psychology Quarterly, 18(4), 454-482. doi.org/10.1521/scpq.18.4.454.26995

Clough, P. & Nutbrown, C. (2004). Special Education Needs and Inclusion: Multiple Perspectives of Preschool Educators in the UK. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 2(2), 191-202. doi.org/10.1177/1476718X04043015

Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative enquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks. CA: SAGE.

de Beco, G. (2014). The Right to Inclusive Education according to article 24 of the UNCRPD: Background, Requirements and (remaining) questions. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 33/3: 263-287. doi.org/10.1177/016934411403200304

de Boer, A., Jan Pijl, S. & Minnaert. A. (2011). Regular primary schoolteachers’ attitudes toward inclusive education: a review of the literature. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 15(3), 331-353. doi.org/10.1080/13603110903030089

Deng, M. & Poon-MacBrayer, K. (2012). Reforms and Challenges in the Era of Inclusive Education: The Case of China. British Journal of Special Education, 39(3), 117-122. doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8578.2012.00551.x

Deng, M. & Guo, L. (2007). Local special education administrators’ understanding of inclusive education in China. International Journal of Educational Development, 27(6), 697-707. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2007.02.005

Emam, M. & Farrell, P. (2009). Tensions experienced by teachers and their views of support for pupils with autism spectrum disorders in mainstream schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 24(4), 407-422. doi.org/10.1080/08856250903223070

Fan, X. & Chen, M. (2001). Parent involvement and students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychological Review, 13(1), 1-22. doi.org/10.1023/A:100904881

Farrell, P., Dyson, A., Polat, F., Hutcheson, G. & Gallannaugh, F. (2007). Inclusion and achievement in mainstream schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 22(2), 131-145. doi.org/10.1080/08856250701267808

Florian, L. & Linklater, H. (2010). Preparing teachers for inclusive education: using inclusive pedagogy to enhance teaching and learning for all. Cambridge Journal of Education, 40(4), 369 -386. doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2010.526588

Florian, L. (2014). What Counts as Evidence of Inclusive Education? European Journal of Special Needs Education, 29(3), 286-294. doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2014.933551

Florian, L. (2015). Inclusive Pedagogy: A transformative approach to individual differences but can it help reduce educational inequalities? Scottish Educational Review, 47(1), 5-14. doi: 10.1080/13540602.2012.709732

Forlin, C. & Chambers, D. (2011). Teacher preparation for inclusive education: increasing knowledge but raising concerns. Asia – Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(1): 17 – 32. doi.org/10.1080/1359866X.2010.540850

Giorgi, A., Giorgi, B. & Morley, J. (2017). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology, 2nd Edition, Edited by Carla Willig and Wendy Rogers, Chapter 11: 176-192 SAGE: London.

Hardy, I. & Woodcock, S. (2015). Inclusive Education Policies: Discourses of Differences, Diversity and Deficit. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 19(2), 141-164. doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2014.908965

Haug, P. (2010). Approaches to Empirical Research on Inclusive Education. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 12(3), 199-209. doi.org/10.1080/15017410903385052

Haug, P. (2017). Understanding inclusive education: Ideals and reality. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 19(3), 206 -217. doi.org/10.1080/15017419.2016.1224778

Hornby, G. & Lafaele, R. (2011). Barriers to parental involvement in education: An explanatory model. Educational Review, 63(1), 37-52. doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2010.488049

Kamenopoulou, L. & Dukpa, D. (2017). Karma and human rights: Bhutanese teachers’ perspectives on inclusion and disability. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 22(3), 323-338. doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2017.1365274

Kantavong, P., Nethanomsak, T. & Luang-ungkool, N. (2012). Inclusive Education in Thailand after 1999 National Education Act: A Review of a Pre-Service Teacher Education System. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 69, 1043-1051. doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.12.031

Kantavong, P. (2018). Understanding inclusive education practices in schools under local government jurisdiction: a study of Khon Kaen Municipality in Thailand. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 22(7), 767-786. doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2017.1412509

Kavale, K. & Forness, S. (2000). History, Rhetoric, and Reality. Analysis of the inclusion Debate. Remedial and Special Education, 21(5), 279-296. doi.org/10.1177/074193250002100505

Laverty S.M. (2003). Hermeneutic phenomenology and phenomenology: a comparison of historical and methodological considerations. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 2(3), 21-35. doi.org/10.1177/160940690300200303

Lindsay, G. (2007). Educational Psychology and the effectiveness of inclusive education/ mainstreaming. British Journal of Education Psychology, 77(1), 1-24. doi.org/10.1348/000709906X156881

MacFarlane, K. & Woolfson, L.M. (2013). Teacher attitudes and behavior toward the inclusion of children with social, emotional and behavioral difficulties in mainstream schools: An application of the theory of planned behavior. Teaching and Teacher Education, 29(2013), 46-52. doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2012.08.006

Miles, S. & Singal, N. (2010). The Education for All and Inclusive Education Debate: Conflict, Contradiction or Opportunity? International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14(1), 1-15. doi.org/10.1080/13603110802265125

Mitchell, D. (2014). What really works in special and inclusive education: using evidence-based teaching strategies. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks. CA: SAGE.

Norwich, B. (2014). Recognising Value Tensions that Underlie Problems in Inclusive Education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 44 (4), 495-510. doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2014.963027

OECD (1999). Inclusive Education at Work: Students with Disabilities in Mainstream Schools. Paris: OECD.

Rodriguez, R., Blatz, E. & Elbaum, B. (2014). Parents’ views of schools’ involvement efforts. Exceptional Children Journal, 81(1), 79-95. doi.org/10.1177/0014402914532232

Ruijs, N. (2017). The impact of special needs students on classmate performance. Economics of Education Review, 58, 15-31. doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2017.03.002

Sailor, W. (2016). Equity as a Basis for inclusive education system change. Australian Journal of Special Education, 41(1), 1-17. doi.org/10.1017/jse.2016.12

Savolainen, H., Engelbrecht, P., Nel, M. & Malinen, O. (2012). Understanding teachers’ attitudes and self-efficacy in inclusive education: implications for pre-service and in-service teacher education. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 27(1), 51-68. doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2011.613603

Sharma, U., Forlin, C. & Loreman, T. (2008). Impact of training on pre‐service teachers' attitudes and concerns about inclusive education and sentiments about persons with disabilities. Disability & Society, 23(7), 773-785. doi.org/10.1080/09687590802469271

Slee, R. (2011). The irregular school: exclusion, schooling and inclusive education. London: Routledge.

Sukbunpant, S., Arthur-Kelly, M. & Dempsey, I. (2013). Thai preschool teachers' views about inclusive education for young children with disabilities. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 17(10), 1106-1118. doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2012.741146

Terzi, L. (2014). Reframing inclusive education: educational equality as capability equality. Cambridge Journal of Education, 44(4), 479-793. doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2014.960911

UNESCO. (2017/8). Global Education Monitoring Report/Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments. Paris: UNESCO.

UNICEF. (2016). Toward Inclusive Education: the impact of disability on school attendance in developing countries. Office of Research: Innocenti Working Paper, WP-2016-03-/May 2016

UNICEF. (2017). Annual Results Report (Education). Retrieved from http://unicef.org/publicpartnerships/files/2017_UNICEF_ARR_Education_ADVANCE_COPY.pdf.

United Nations. (2007). The Right to Education of Persons with Disabilities. Human Rights Council 4th session item 2 of the agenda. UN A/ HRC/4/29 (19 February 2007).

Vagle M. (2018). Crafting phenomenological research. London: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

Vasileiadis, I. & Doikou-Avlidou, M. (2018). Enhancing social interaction of pupils with intellectual disabilities with their general education peers: the outcomes of an intervention programme. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 18(4), 267-277. doi.org/10.1111/1471-3802.12410

Vaughn, J., Schumm, J., Jallad, B., Slusher, J. & Saumell L. (1996). Teachers’ views of inclusion. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 11, 96-106.

Vislie, L. (2003). From Integration to Inclusion: Focusing Global Trends and Changes in the Western European Societies. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 18(1), 17-35. doi.org/10.1080/0885625082000042294

Vorapanya, S. & Dunlap. D. (2014). Inclusive education in Thailand: practices and challenges. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(10), 1014-1028. doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2012.693400

World Health Organization. (2011). World Report on Disability. WHO: Geneva. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report/en