The shift from exclusionary special education to inclusive education in Malaysia follows international mandates and trends in the knowledge base and theoretical perspectives of the research and practice of special needs. Inclusive education was first introduced in the mid-1990s as part of a reform initiative that was focused on students with disabilities and special needs. However, the term inclusive education is loosely interpreted and understood by policymakers and practitioners. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the interpretation of policy pertaining to inclusion, its contradictions and its translation into practice within the Malaysian context; and to share experiences on how the national context explain and constrain inclusive practices. It will review the extent to which it brought benefits to children with special needs and their families, and examine the practical problems associated with the implementation of inclusive practices at community and school levels. The discussion begins with an introduction to the development of special needs education as a discipline and as a profession in Malaysia; and its influence on the development of policy and its interpretation into practice.
|Keywords:||Special Needs Education, Inclusive Education, Special Needs Students, Policy, Practice|
Professor, Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
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