This book provides an internationally comparable set of indicators on educational provision for students with disabilities, learning difficulties and disadvantages. It looks in detail at the students concerned, where they are educated (special schools, special classes or regular classes) and what their level of education is (pre-primary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education). It also includes information on the physical provision and on student/teacher ratios and discusses policy implications concerning special education.
This volume is an updated edition of the statistics and indicators issued in 2004 under the title Equity in Education: Students with Disabilities, Learning Difficulties and Disadvantages. It presents quantitative and qualitative data for the school year 2000-01 in 21 OECD countries: Belgium (Flemish and French Communities), Canada (New Brunswick), the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom (England) and the United States.
Chapter 1. Introduction
The performance of national education systems is a topic which continues to receive a large amount of interest. All OECD member countries are concerned with the standards attained by students and the type of learning that all children and young people are engaged in, as educational reforms are planned and put in place as part of a strategy for moving countries into the knowledge economy.
Students with disabilities, learning difficulties and disadvantages are no exception, and programmes are being developed to assist these students to improve their skills and to be included more fully into society and work. The demographic trends are such that in the coming years, as a result of the increasing numbers of retired citizens and the decreasing birth rate, all available skills will be needed to maintain our economies.
The gathering of statistics and the development of indicators of education systems are viewed as indispensable to this endeavour, and the effort has been spearheaded by OECD in collaboration with UNESCO and the European Union. However, it has been noticeable that data on students who have difficulties in accessing the curriculum are more difficult to come by than for the rest of the student population.
Chapter 2. Analysis of the Qualitative Data
This chapter analyses some qualitative descriptions provided by countries in addition
to gathering quantitative data. These comprised:
Chapter 3. Analysis of the Quantitiative Data Based on Categories Used Nationally
This chapter analyses the data provided by countries in the electronic questionnaire (covering special schools, special classes and regular classes respectively) by national categories of disability, learning difficulties and disadvantages. The data cover only those students who are registered by the education authorities and they suffer from the limitation of not including disabled students of the relevant age who are outside of the education system. However, earlier work showed that these numbers would be either very small or non-existent since many countries have 100% of students of school age under the aegis of the education authorities.
The data are broken down by categories and presented as proportions of the total numbers of students in pre-primary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education. In addition, information is provided on the place or location of these students’ education, i.e. in regular classes, special classes or special schools, expressed as proportions of the total numbers of students in that category in the particular location.
Chapter 4. Analysis of the Quantitiative Data for Cross-National Categories A, B and C
As in earlier data collections, the amount of information which countries were able to provide varied widely from country to country. There continues to be an overall trend for the most detailed information to be available about provision in special schools, for substantially less information about special classes in regular or mainstream schools, and for there to be very patchy data on students fully integrated in regular classes in regular schools.
The three cross-national categories correspond broadly to students with disabilities (A); students with difficulties (B); and those with disadvantages (C). To avoid extensive repetition of the phrase “students within cross-national category”, the terms disabilities, difficulties, and disadvantages are frequently used in this chapter as synonyms for the three cross-national categories. As previously, there are more extensive and reliable data for students with disabilities (relating broadly to what might be called organic defects relating to sensory, motor, or neurological systems) than for those with difficulties or disadvantages.
Chapter 5. Additional Analysis of the Quantitative Data: Gender and Age
This chapter focuses on what the data tables show about the different physical locations in which students receiving additional resources for disabilities, difficulties or disadvantages are educated. The simple categorisation, employed in the previous chapter, of special schools, special classes in mainstream schools, and regular classes in mainstream schools, is again used. Several other aspects are also analysed including the gender ratios for these students in different settings and categorisations, student-staff ratios and the age distributions of the students in a number of national systems.
Chapter 6. Further Discussion of the Significant Issues
It is clear that countries provide substantial additional support for many students in order to help them access the curriculum. The significance of the issue is reflected in the many laws, policies and types of special education provision developed to meet these students’ educational needs. Factors repeatedly identified by countries which serve as facilitators for or barriers to equity and inclusion include legal frameworks, funding models, assessment arrangements, school structure, class size, the use of individual teaching programmes, the involvement of additional teachers and aides, teacher training, parental involvement and co-operation with other services. Taken together, these issues present a considerable agenda for reform.
Annex 1. Distribution of Individual National Categories into 22 General Categories Used to Describe Students with Disabilities, Difficulties, and Disadvantages
Annex 2. Data Availability Tables
Annex 3. Compulsory School Education
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