Cultural transformation for inclusion, What is needed? A South African perspective

27 Sep 2016

Internationally, a move towards inclusive education has been adopted as the preferred model in most education systems. Yet there are still many jurisdictions that find that they simply do not have the resources necessary to embark on such a major development as inclusion. A critical issue in many such regions has been the difficulty in reforming traditional cultures that act as almost impassable barriers to change. This is further problematic when much of the rhetoric about embracing inclusion has posited the idea that schools can transform their culture by simply changing their own practices. This article considers the viability of schools being able to adopt an inclusive culture by themselves without a well developed support system and with very limited resources. An eco-systemic research approach is employed to examine the cultural barriers to inclusion that exist within ten schools across one regional district in South Africa. It is argued that for inclusion to become a reality in South Africa then significant cultural transformation must occur which is supported by an enhanced education system that is able to provide the necessary infrastructure, resources and support needed to enable schools to change.