Assessing ODL Teachers/Tutors’ Opinion on Inclusion of Children with Emotional, Social and Behavioural Difficulties
Dr. Zahid Majeed
Department of Special Education
Allama Iqbal Open University
Sub-theme 1: Human Resource Development in Open Universities
In Pakistan about 2.49% of population is with special needs (Govt of Pakistan, 1998) including hearing, visual impairment, mentally challenged, physically handicapped and multiple handicaps. Only 1% of this population has access to education and higher education is almost not in access. Formal universities have no capacity, arrangements and skills to include the students with special needs. Open and Distance Learning is most suitable and accommodative mode for them so much of them are getting education through ODL mode. Allama Iqbal Open University is only public sector ODL University in Pakistan and providing free education to disadvantage group people included special need students. More than 400 special need students enrolled in different programs and most of them hearing impaired, visual impaired and physically disabled. But there are number of students emotional, social and behavioural disordered. The study aim was to determine the tutors/teachers attitudes towards inclusion of students with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties (ESBD) considering the influence of age, experience, qualifications and the support they received from AIOU. Further it was explored the link between attitudes and willingness to work with such students in ODL classroom/system whilst identifying the barriers to successful inclusion of ESBD. A sample of 200 tutors/teachers (100 male, 100 female) volunteered to take part on the study and most of them from Islamabad region. The study was mixed design i.e. quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative data collected through two scaled questionnaire and the qualitative through open ended questions. Correlation was used to explore the relationship between age, experiences, qualifications and support they received with attitudes and willingness. The researcher used the thematic analysis to analyse the qualitative data/information. Findings of the study indicated that age, time in profession and support received were significant predicators. Attitudes also had a significant effect on willingness to include when controlling for support received. Qualitative responses suggested tutors/teachers felt they lacked necessary training to include students with ESBD and lack of consistent recourses and support were commonly cited as barriers. The study recommended that tutors should be trained to assess the special needs and characteristics of emotional, social and behavioural disordered students. Also modified teaching methods/pedagogies should be part of their pre and in-service teacher training progarmmes.
Key Words: ODL Teachers/Tutors, Inclusion, Special Need Students