The development of an inclusive approach in early childhood education in Namibia

Naanda, Aune Nangula (2005-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Early childhood education is an investment that can offer outstanding returns. It can ensure that all children receive the education that is their right. One cannot talk of access to quality education for all if children with special needs in early childhood and pre-primary education are not given the same opportunities. Equally, the right to access to early childhood education becomes elusive if government spends very little of its resources on early childhood education. At present many children in Namibia are denied access to early childhood education due to poverty, disability, diseases or hindrances. Within formal education, children with special needs do poorly, fail classes or drop out of school at a very early age. As a result, they become further marginalised in society. Their lack of education could also make them a burden on society. The study was guided by the questions: a) what are the implications of the implementation of inclusive early childhood education both internationally as well as in Namibia?; b) what is the current situation in Namibia regarding the functioning of early childhood education centres with specific reference to the perceptions and preferences of early childhood educators in the overall process of educating children with special needs, and c) what guidelines can be offered to the ministries responsible for education and for the welfare of children for the development of an inclusive early childhood education in Namibia? First a review of literature on early childhood education and inclusive education approaches was undertaken. Next a quantitative survey research method was used to obtain answers to the research questions. Of the 650 respondents to whom it was sent, 493 early childhood educators from all the 13 regions in Namibia completed the questionnaire. The study was based on an ecosystemic approach to inclusive education in which the entire community and all the stakeholders are involved in contributing to quality early childhood education at a school where diversity is valued and every effort is made to maximise the quality of life of all children. The research findings indicate that early childhood educators in Namibia have not received the necessary training for their role as ECD educators nor do they possess the necessary qualifications or skills for inclusive education approaches. The findings also indicate that the majority of early childhood educators are not aware of the national ECD policy nor do they have much knowledge of what an inclusive curriculum entails. It is clear that Inclusive education requires a paradigm shift and the transformation of the education sector in order to ensure that all children have equal access to quality education. This study recommends that there be closer collaboration between the ministry responsible for education as well as that dealing with child welfare in the development of an inclusive education policy covering all levels of the education sector from early childhood to tertiary and higher education. It is further recommended that curriculum reform be effected to ensure that the curriculum becomes inclusive, reflecting the needs of all children and acknowledging individual differences as opportunities to learn rather than barriers to learning and participation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Opvoeding in die kinderjare is 'n belegging wat uitstaande resultate kan oplewer. Dit kan verseker dat alle kinders die opvoeding ontvang waartoe hulle geregtig is. 'n Mens kan nie praat van toegang tot kwaliteit onderrig vir alle kinders as kinders met spesiale behoeftes in hul vroeë kinderjare en pre-primêre opvoeding nie toegang tot dieselfde geleenthede het nie. Terselfdertyd word die reg van opvoeding in die vroeë kinderjare 'n onverwesenlikbare begrip as 'n regering min van sy finansiële hulpbronne beskikbaar stel vir dié doel. Tans word baie kinders in Namibië van hierdie reg ontneem weens armoede, gestremdheid, siektes en ander struikelblokke. Binne formele opvoeding presteer kinders met spesiale behoeftes nie na wense nie, druip klasse of verlaat die skool op 'n vroeë ouderdom. As gevolg hiervan word hulle meer en meer gemarginaliseer binne die samelewing. Hulle gebrek aan opvoeding kan selfs daartoe lei dat hulle 'n las vir die samelewing word. Die studie is gelei deur die vrae: a) wat is die implikasies van die implementering van omvattende opvoeding in die vroeë kinderjare in die internasionale- en binne die konteks van Namibië?; b) wat is die huidige stand van sake in Namibië wat betref die funksionering van sentrums vir opvoeding in die vroeë kinderjare met spesifieke verwysing na die persepsies en voorkeure van opvoeders in die globale proses van die verskaffing van vroeë opvoeding aan kinders met spesiale behoeftes?, en c) watter riglyne kan aan die Ministerie, verantwoordelik vir die welsyn van kinders voorgestel word wat omvattende opvoeding in die vroeë kinderjare in Namibië ten doel kan hê? Eerstens is 'n oorsig van literatuur oor vroeë kinder- en omvattende opvoeding onderneem. Daarna is gebruik gemaak van 'n kwantitatiewe vraelysnavorsingsmetode om antwoorde op die navorsingsvrae te kry. Van die 650 respondente vir wie vraelyste gestuur is, het 493 vroeë kinderopvoeders vanuit al dertien die streke in Namibië die vraelyste voltooi. Die studie is gebaseer op 'n ekosistemiese benadering tot omvattende opvoeding waarbinne die hele gemeenskap en al die rolspelers betrokke was by die voorsiening van kwaliteit vroeë opvoeding in 'n skool waar diversiteit 'n gewaardeerde waarde is en waarbinne alle maatreëls getref word om te verseker dat die kinders die maksimum lewenskwaliteit geniet. Die navorsingsbevindinge dui aan dat vroeë kinderopvoeders in Namibië nie die nodige opleiding ontvang het om hulle toe te rus vir hul rol as VKO opvoeders nie, en dat hulle ook nie oor die nodige kwalifikasies of vaardighede beskik wat nodig is vir die inklusiewe benadering tot vroeë kinderopvoeding nie. Die bevindinge dui verder ook aan dat die grootste persentasie van vroeë kinderopvoeders nie bewus is van die nasionale VKO beleid nie, en ook nie die kennis het oor wat dié kurrikulum behels nie. Dit is duidelik dat omvattende opvoeding 'n paradigmaskuif en die transformasie van die opvoedingsektor gaan nodig hê om te verseker dat alle kinders gelyke toegang tot kwaliteit opvoeding kan geniet. Die studie maak die aanbeveling dat daar 'n nouer samewerking tussen die Ministeries verantwoordelik vir opvoeding en vir die algemene welsyn van kinders moet wees om 'n omvattende opvoedingsbeleid daar te stel wat alle vlakke van die opvoedingssektor, vanaf vroeë kinderjare tot tersiêre en hoër onderwys insluit. Dit word verder voorgestel dat die kurrikulum aangepas word om die omvattende aard van opvoeding te reflekteer en dat die behoeftes van alle kinders met inagneming van individuele verskille gesien moet word as geleenthede om te leer, eerder as wat dit beskou sal word as struikelblokke in die weg van leer en deelname.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50476
This item appears in the following collections: