Karma and human rights: Bhutanese teachers' perspectives on inclusion and disability

Leda Kamenopoulou, Dawa Dukpa

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The Sustainable Development Goals call on countries to ensure that all children, especially the most vulnerable, are included in education. The small kingdom of Bhutan has made attempts to embrace inclusion in education at the policy level. However, research on inclusion and disability in this context is limited, and there are few studies focusing on the perspectives of Bhutanese teachers. The study presented here was led by the question ‘how are Inclusion and Disability understood by teachers in Bhutan?’ The research aims were to (a) explore the above concepts from the perspective of participants and (b) construct these concepts in a way that is contextually relevant to Bhutan. Data collection comprised qualitative interviews with 15 Bhutanese teachers. Findings revealed that participants saw disability predominantly from a ‘medical model’ perspective, but at the same time held conflicting views as to what inclusion means. They moreover mentioned lack of teacher training as an obstacle to the implementation of inclusion in Bhutan, and some believed that the country is not yet ready for inclusion. We argue that our findings call for Bhutan to strengthen the preparation of its teachers for inclusive education in order to narrow the current gap between policy and practice.

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The attached document (embargoed until 10/02/2019) is an author produced version of a paper published in International Journal of Inclusive Education, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2017.1365274. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberISSN: 1360-3116 (Print) 1464-5173 (Online)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2017


  • Inclusion/inclusive education, disability/special educational needs, teacher understanding, Bhutan, South Asia

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