University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 17.12.2016 Teacher Preparation for Inclusive Education in Ghana: Status and Challenges (Nketsia)

Start date: Dec 17, 2016 12:00 PM

End date: Dec 17, 2016 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, RUU D101 (Juho)

William Nketsia, kuva: Jyväskylän yliopisto
William Nketsia, kuva: Jyväskylän yliopisto

MA William Nketsia defends his doctoral dissertation in Education “Teacher Preparation for Inclusive Education in Ghana: Status and Challenges”. The Opponent PhD, senior lecturer Sai Väyrynen (University of Helsinki) and custos Professor Timo Saloviita (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English.

Countries across the globe are moving towards inclusive policy and practice since UNESCO’s Salamanca statement and Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities called on nations to ensure inclusive education system at levels. The key purpose of inclusive education is to ensure that all children learn together regardless of their difficulties or differences (UNESCO 1994). Initial teacher education programme plays a key role in equipping teachers with the inclusive skills, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs for successful implementation of inclusive education.

This dissertation adopted a descriptive survey research approach to determine the extent to which colleges of education in Ghana prepare teachers for successful implementation of inclusive education. The study investigated pre-service teachers’ and teacher educators’ knowledge of the concept of inclusive education, special educational needs, inclusive pedagogical approaches and attitudes towards inclusive education.

Both pre-service teachers and teacher educators demonstrated adequate knowledge of the concept of inclusive education and special educational needs. The teacher educators showed positive attitudes toward inclusive education, however, the pre-service teachers’ overall attitudes was barely positive. Majority of teacher educators did not feel adequately prepared to train teachers for inclusive education and the majority of pre-service teachers also felt unprepared to teach students with special needs.

In addition, the special education course in the colleges of education was found to be inadequate in equipping pre-service teachers with inclusive knowledge, skills and positive attitudes. Both pre-service teachers and teacher educators expressed concern about Ghana’s preparedness for inclusive education in terms of its facilities, resources, societal attitudes and political will.

The key findings and recommendations in this dissertation can be applied to reform initial teacher education programs in terms of its curriculum and delivery to equip pre-service teachers with the inclusive skills, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs for successful implementation of inclusive education. The study calls on teacher education programs in Ghana and other African countries to adopt evidence-based innovative approaches to prepare inclusive teachers.

Background information

William Nketsia completed his Masters’ Degree in Education in 2011 from University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. He also has Bachelors’ degree in Science Education from University of Cape Coast and Teacher’s certificate in Basic Education from Akrokerri College of Education, both from Ghana. William Nketsia has previously worked as a chemistry, biology and science teacher in Ghana and United Kingdom. Currently, he is a project researcher at University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.

The dissertation is published in the series Jyväskylä studies in education, psychology and social research, number 573. ISBN 978-951-39-6895-3, ISSN  0075-4625. It is available at the Soppi University Shop and University of Jyväskylä Web Store, tel. +358 (0)40 805 3825, myynti@library.jyu.fi

E-publication: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-6895-3

Further information:

William Nketsia, puh: +358408054681, winketsi@jyu.fi
Communications Officer Anitta Kananen, tiedotus@jyu.fi, tel. +358 40 805 4142

Abstract

Initial teacher education programs are undergoing reforms to equip pre-service teachers with inclusive skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values that are critical for successful implementation of inclusive education. This dissertation, comprised of four articles and a summary, sought to describe how the colleges of education in Ghana prepare teachers for inclusive education. A descriptive survey research approach was adopted in all four articles.

The first article sought to determine the knowledge of pre-service teachers regarding the concept of inclusive education, special education needs (SEN), inclusive pedagogical approaches, and their feelings of self-efficacy in terms of teaching in inclusive settings. The results indicated that the majority of the final-year pre-service teachers have been introduced to the concept of inclusive education, and overall, they demonstrated good knowledge of inclusive education and SEN. However, only the minority indicated that they provided support for the SEN children they encountered and felt highly self-efficient in terms of their preparedness to teach students with SEN.

The second article sought to determine the inclusive pedagogical approaches, knowledge, and values that pre-service teachers acquire from a SEN course, their perceptions of the adequacy of the SEN course, and the challenges associated with the delivery of the SEN course. It was found that the medical model view of disability was dominant in the SEN, and only a minority of pre-service teachers acquired the requisite inclusive values, principles, and pedagogical practices from the course. On the whole, the SEN course was found to be adequate in equipping pre-service teachers with the knowledge and skills required to identify the different categories of SEN and disabilities but inadequate in providing pre-service teachers with sufficient inclusive knowledge, skills, and practices.

The third article examined the knowledge of teacher educators regarding the concept of inclusive education, SEN, and inclusive pedagogical approaches, as well as their attitudes toward inclusive education, perception of their roles, and preparedness to train teachers for inclusive education. Overall, they demonstrated positive attitudes toward inclusive education and teacher preparation for inclusive education. However, the majority were of the view that Ghana was unready for the implementation of inclusive education because of contextual factors, such as inadequate facilities, inadequate teacher preparation, inadequate resources, societal attitudes, inadequate public education, and lack of political will. Moreover, the majority lacked adequate inclusive teaching experience and felt somewhat prepared for training teachers for an inclusive classroom.

The final study adopted a cross-sectional approach to determine pre-service teachers’ views and opinions about disability, their level of discomfort, their attitudes toward inclusive education, and the impact of independent variables. Although, the pre-service teachers understood disability in terms of the dynamic interaction of both biological factors and environmental factors, they felt more comfortable interacting with people with disabilities, but their overall attitudes were scantily positive, with some being predisposed to cultural beliefs about disability.

The overall study indicates that Ghana needs reforms in initial teacher education to prepare pre-service teachers and teacher educators to promote inclusion. The studies discussed several factors that could be adopted to effectively train teachers on issues of SEN, disabilities, and inclusive pedagogical approaches to improve upon their attitudes and self-efficacy.

  • Keywords: Initial teacher preparation, Inclusive education, Attitudes, Knowledge, Values, Teacher educators, Pre-service teachers, Colleges of Education, Ghana
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