Determinants of Teachers’ Perceptions on Inclusion of Learners with Disabilities in Regular Primary Schools of Central and Anseba Regions, Eritrea
Mussie, Mengistu Habtom
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the determinants of the perceptions of teachers on the inclusion of learners with disabilities in regular primary schools of Central and Anseba Regions of Eritrea. The objectives of the study were to establish teachers’ perception on the implementation of inclusive education in regular primary schools; and to examine the impact of demographic factors, teaching-learning resources, and school administrative support on teachers’ perceptions of inclusion for learners with disabilities in regular primary schools of Central and Anseba regions of Eritrea. The proposed study was guided by Heider and Kelley’s “attribution theory” of perception. The study used descriptive research design, targeting (650) teachers and (28) head teachers in (28) regular primary schools of Central and Anseba regions, Eritrea. Purposive sampling technique was employed to select a sample of (6) regular primary schools from the two regions of the country, (6) head teachers and (120) regular primary school teachers. The study utilized a questionnaire and interview guide for data collection. Questionnaires were administered to regular primary school teachers, while an interview was conducted to head teachers. A pilot study conducted in one primary school in the Central region. The validity of the instruments was assured by extensive discussions with supervisors and through piloting. The test-retest technique was applied to ensure the reliability of the instruments, and the correlation coefficient of r=0.87 achieved. Qualitative data collected were analyzed thematically based on the research objectives. Quantitative data collected from the questionnaires were also coded, entered, edited, and analyzed using SPSS version 20 for windows, tests of ANOVA, t-test and Pearson correlation were applied. Data presented in the form of text, charts, graphs, tables, and figures. The study findings revealed that regular primary school teachers have a positive perception of including learners with disabilities. However, the knowledge base and practice of inclusive education was very low. Findings further revealed that young age groups, trained teachers and teachers who have experience with learners with disabilities showed positive perceptions towards inclusive education than old, untrained and non-experienced teachers. Finally, inadequate teaching and learning resources and lack of school administrative support have a detrimental effect on the regular primary school teachers’ perception. The study concluded that regular primary school teachers have a positive perception of inclusive education. However, lack of training and inadequate resources mainly influenced teacher perception toward the practice of inclusive education. The study recommended that there is an urgent need for pre-service and in-service training of regular primary school teachers. For successful inclusion, schools should be equipped with adequate teaching and learning resources.