The idealism of education policies and the realities in schools: the implementation of inclusive education in South Africa
Van Deventer, Marichelle
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Inclusive education as a global movement emerged over the past 30 years to ensure quality mainstream education for all learners. Since 1994 the newly democratic South Africa also had expectations as well as the political will to change education by adjusting legislation and policies. However, the vision of a truly inclusive education system in South Africa has been difficult to achieve and results regarding the implementation of inclusive education remain questionable. There has been a growing realisation that the advent of democracy was not in itself a sufficient condition for the elimination of historical and structural inequalities in education with as recurring theme the dissonance between the government's socio-political imperative for change and economic realities. This article focuses on the development of policy and guidelines on inclusive education in dynamic interaction with the complexity of realities in South African schools with a special focus on the policy recommendations regarding the development of full-service schools. The constant comparative analysis of the two phased case study of a full-service school in a rural town revealed interesting results illustrating the complexities regarding the implementation of inclusive education and the challenges and opportunities in bridging the gap between the idealism of policies and the realities in schools.