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Neoliberalism and the barriers in inclusive education

Rose Mutuota


Tensions exist between providing inclusive education in mainstream classrooms and market-driven neoliberal values such as academic  success and school ranking. These values impinge on teachers’ responsibilities to teach students with disabilities. Schools are ranked  based on students’ performance in national examinations and schools sometimes use unscrupulous methods to achieve good results. In  a culture that ranks schools based on test results, the schools themselves find it hard to embrace the idea of inclusion and some will use  a variety of means to exclude students with disabilities to maintain their high rating. In this article we explore how some key tenets of  neoliberalism in inclusive education, such as testing mechanisms to leverage accountability and improvement, inter-school competition,  marketisation of education and parental choice, among others, affect the provision of education to students with disabilities in Kenya. We  highlight how neoliberalism has affected inclusive education in Kenya and explain how hegemonic neoliberal culture has changed  the way schools operate and how teachers teach. We also show how neoliberal culture in schools helps exclude students who are    different from the norm.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2076-3433
print ISSN: 0256-0100