PurposeThe Macao SAR has instituted a policy-driven change that calls for schools to accept pupils with special education needs. However, making schools diverse and inclusive requires the consideration of multiple dimensions, such as the acceptance of all parties concerned, tangible and intangible support structures and cultures, and adequate resources. The purpose of this paper is to focus on understanding teachers’ attitudes and perceived challenges towards the implementation of inclusion in a context distinguished by a prevalence of the private sector of education.Design/methodology/approachThis qualitative study used grounded theory procedures through document analysis and in-depth interviews with teachers to analyse the attitudes and perceptions regarding inclusive education in the context of policy revision.FindingsData analysis revealed five themes related to teachers’ attitudes and perceptions: understanding inclusion; outcomes of inclusion; attitudes towards inclusion; preparedness to work in inclusive settings; and challenges and barriers. It is concluded that teachers show mixed positive and negative attitudes towards inclusion. Although the teachers acknowledge the significance of the reform, few of them feel prepared for and comfortable with teaching children with SEN. A lack of resources and support, and a disintegrated approach to inclusion seems to hinder the enactment of inclusive practices. Societal preconceptions against the full inclusion of children with disabilities in regular settings were reported by the participants.Originality/valueThis paper suggests ways to support teachers and expand inclusion practices in Macao.
Asian Education and Development Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 2, 2017