Special and Inclusive Education in Southern Africa

  • Argnue Chitiyo Ball State University
  • Chaidamoyo Goodson Dzenga Tennessee Technological University
Keywords: special education, disability, professional development, Sub-Saharan Africa


Children with special education needs possess unique learning characteristics which may inhibit their effective learning in mainstream, general education classes. Special education practices are therefore designed to address the educational needs of students with disabilities through various strategies including thorough assessments of students’ characteristics, individualized curriculum planning, and provision of essential services and resources to maximize learning. Although there is extensive research on special education in developed countries like the United States of America (USA), literature on its development and practice in Sub Saharan African countries is somewhat scattered and inconclusive. This study reviewed special education policy, special education teacher professional development, and challenges to successful special education practice in five Southern African countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, and Namibia. An understanding of special education policy development and challenges is imperative to develop a more successful practice.

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