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AJIE Reflections on Inclusion: Students with Visual Impairment in Bhutan – AJIE

Abstract

Vol. 8, No. 1, December, 2020

Reflections on Inclusion: Students with Visual Impairment in Bhutan

Rinchen Dorjia, David Patersonb, Lorraine Grahamc, Judith Millerd and Jeff Baileye

a Samtse College of Education  Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan

b Faculty of Education, University of Canberra, Australia

c Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia

d School of Education, University of New England, Australia

e Currumbin Qld, Australia

 

(Received 01 January 2020, Final revised version received 05July 2020)

 

 This study provides a retrospective view of past students with visual impairment (VI) regarding their experience in inclusive settings in the Bhutanese education system.  Twelve past students (10 males and 2 females) with VI completed an online survey via Qualtrics. The survey consisted of a 37-item survey termed the Bhutanese Attitudes Towards Inclusive Education – Past Students (BATIE-PS). Eight open-ended questions were also included in the survey, which allowed the participants to elaborate on their experience and views regarding inclusive education. This paper relates to participant experiences therefore, only responses to the open-ended questions are reported. Findings included the benefits of being able to make friends with sighted students, the opportunity to learn and interact with a wider circle of students, gaining broader perspectives, and developing self-confidence to manage their lives independently.  The study also revealed that the principals’ and teachers’ lack of knowledge and training, limited resources, inaccessible infrastructure, social stigma, negative perspectives and inadequate education regarding disability and inclusive education were some of the barriers that needed to be addressed for inclusive education to be successful.

 

Keywords: Visual impairment, inclusive education, developing countries