Perspectives of students and parents about mainstreaming education for children with special needs in Bangladesh

Utpal Mallick
Research and Evaluation Division, BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Kazi Sameeo Sheesh
Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh & Doctoral Student, University of Sussex, UK

(Received 01 October 2012, Final revised version received 27 January 2013)

This paper deals with the issue of mainstreaming children with special needs (CSN) into regular classrooms and discusses the problems from the viewpoint of the students and their parents‟ experiences. Following a qualitative method, this paper investigates the phenomenon of mainstream education for CSN. The context of this study was two regular primary schools in Dhaka, Bangladesh and participants were selected purposively from these schools. Semi-structured and open-ended questions were used for the interviews. The results of the study showed that there is a lack of awareness among mainstream teachers, general students and their parents about CSN. The parents reported that teachers lack the skills and experience for teaching CSN together with the regular students in the same class. They also stated that there is limited teacher training and that the resources in the schools are inadequate to meet the needs of their children. Inaccessible infrastructures and facilities in schools were mentioned as other important barriers for the education of CSN in mainstream schools. Students and parents, however, seemed to support the idea of mainstreaming.

Keywords: Mainstream Education; Bangladesh; Children with Special Needs; Teachers; Parents