This study aims to investigate Indian mainstream secondary school teachers’ awareness and attitude toward assistive technology (AT) and its implementation level in an inclusive setting.Design/methodology/approachThe study followed a descriptive survey method within the cross-sectional research design, and the selected approach consisted of a mixture of quantitative (e.g. questionnaire surveys) and qualitative (e.g. interviews) methods. A survey was distributed among 150 teachers from 15 secondary schools following the stratified random sampling technique. Collected data were analyzed descriptively and inferentially.FindingsFindings revealed that teachers’ awareness of AT was not up to the satisfactory level yet they showed an overall positive attitude toward it. Regarding teachers’ knowledge, professional support or institutional support, almost everywhere the inadequacy was obvious. These schools were running with a poor resource pool of assistive products along with a squat implementation level. Hence special needs students did not get required supports from schools as they deserved which had been hampering the overall inclusive atmosphere. Lack of suitable policies, adequate awareness and financial limitations were evolved as major barriers in the implementation of AT in these schools. Further, statistical analysis revealed a surprising output that male teachers showed slightly higher awareness level regarding AT than their female counterparts but in respect of attitude they were found overpowered by the females. Teachers of urban schools also exhibited slightly better awareness and attitude toward AT than those of rural schools.Research limitations/implicationsThe study has a high research value for not only having a scarcity of past studies on this topic but also in developing the inclusive education concept in India by enhancing the use of AT for making the process effective and efficient so far as the academic achievements of students with special needs is concerned. The survey can also serve as a source for academic planners in the country by getting information on the current state of resources, both human and material, and thus by making suitable measures for optimum use of available resources.Practical implicationsThe write up of this paper was very difficult, as there were almost no previous studies done on this topic in the past in India, and we had to face an acute shortage of related literature. So, this study would prove to be a good addition in this respect for future researchers.Originality/valueThis is the reporting of an original research conducted in India. To do this study, the authors conducted intensive surveys, interviews and observations. The write up of the findings focuses mainly on the survey and interview data. This type of the study is exclusive in the Indian context and can help Indian policymakers and many other similar developing countries on the globe.
Journal of Enabling Technologies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 9, 2020
Keywords: Secondary school teachers; India; Attitude; Awareness; Assistive technology (AT); Students with special needs (SSN)