This PhD project is linked to the international policy imperative encapsulated by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which focuses on equitable quality education for all. The underpinning for this is that education is a fundamental human right enshrined in international conventions and laws such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. A major approach to achieving this right is through educational inclusion, which continues to be a major area of policy and practice concern globally.
In many low-income and lower-middle income countries, “there is insufficient knowledge of inclusive education, and how children with disabilities [or other circumstances, such as those living in poverty or marginalised areas] can be effectively included in […] school. Often, there is a lack of accessible infrastructure, strategies, teacher training, and learning materials for inclusive education” (Global Partnership for Education [GPE], 2021). In many other contexts, teachers’ attitudes and self-efficacy beliefs about educational inclusion have also been areas of concern. Any of these areas could provide a valuable and worthwhile focus for doctoral research which would contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which focuses on “leaving no one behind”.
Applicants for this PhD will be required to locate their project in a specific national context which may include low-income and lower-middle income countries. Candidates will be expected to carry out policy review or analysis in their chosen country in addition to conducting empirical studies, with a special focus on what educational inclusion means in this context. It may also be possible to consider comparative research by looking at two regional or national contexts.
Prospective applicants should specify whether they will research educational inclusion in early years education, primary education, secondary education or teacher education, and must provide a suitable rationale for their choice. Applicants will be expected to review the literature and explore relevant theory e.g., social justice theories, self-determination theory, vulnerability theory, etc. They are also required to develop their research proposal for either mixed methods or qualitative methods, given the importance of context in the field of educational inclusion.
Possible areas for research may include:
1. The status of educational inclusion in teaching and learning within early years’ education, primary education, secondary education or teacher education in resource-constrained contexts.
2. Learner experiences of access, participation and achievement in relation to educational inclusion.
3. Reimagining educational inclusion amongst marginalised communities and/or amongst displaced people, etc.
4. Teacher action research, narrative inquiry or ethnographic studies into educational inclusion.