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Insights into government initiatives concerned with building inclusive schools in Jordan and Lebanon

The Team

photo of maha khochen bagshaw

Dr Maha Khochen-Bagshaw

Inclusive Education Specialist

photo of bassel akar

Dr Bassel Akar

Education in Crises Research Consultant

photo of Asma'a Zakarya Ali Al-Mallah

Dr Asma'a Zakarya Ali Al-Mallah

Special Needs Teacher & Researcher

Project Outline

This research will investigate government inclusive education initiatives in four mainstream schools in each of Jordan and Lebanon, and the extent these schools promote equity and inclusion principles. The ultimate goal is to use the findings from these countries to conduct cross country analysis to understand the similarity and differences in approach and provision. It will use participatory, quantitative and qualitative methods of research. Persons with disabilities, those working for and with them, from the two countries will act as co-researchers, supporting the development of research instruments, data gathering, analysis and reporting. Methods of data gathering may include: drawing, performance, photography, storytelling, questionnaires and in-depth interviews.

For this, the experiences of teachers and students with disabilities in ‘inclusive schools’ will be explored. By engaging and consulting concerned individuals in each country, this research will produce context specific and culturally sensitive evidence of barriers to and enablers of equitable and inclusive education there, which can then be used to make recommendations for high impact, sustainable future developments in inclusive initiatives.

Project Objectives


This research project aims to:

  • Assess the effectiveness of existing inclusive provisions in government lower secondary schools, that are part of a government inclusive schools initiative, in Jordan and Lebanon on the equitable access and participations of their learners with disabilities and the extent these schools promote equity and inclusion principles generally. Lower secondary is the last three schooling years of basic education in Lebanon and the last four schooling years of basic education of Jordan and is within mandatory education in both countries.
  • Explore the extent learners with disabilities are supported to be equipped with the necessary skills to become independent individuals in the future.
  • Identify and present examples of inclusive related interventions on government, community and school levels to highlight the extent they promote inclusion on the school level in the two targeted countries.
  • Support the formation of policy development on schools, communities and government levels in support of moving forward with equity and inclusion in policy and practice. In doing so, the ultimate aim would be for this research to contribute to:
  • Advocacy campaigns associated with listening to the voices of concerned individuals i.e., persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups.
  • Build the capacities of local researchers with disabilities and researchers working with and for persons with disabilities on equity and inclusion in education through acting as co-investigators in this proposed research project.

The research will seek to answer the research question: “Do current lower secondary government inclusive school initiatives reflect a model of an inclusive teaching and learning environment for their learners, parents and communities?” More specifically,

  • What are the prevalence and experiences of educators with disabilities involved in these schools?
  • Do learners with disabilities believe that they are having equitable opportunity to progress educationally, and do they believe that they are provided with the skills they require to become independent in the future?
  • Who is included in these schools?
  • What disability related data do these schools gather in support of their ministries monitoring and evaluation initiatives?


This research project is concerned with equity and inclusion in education. It intends to explore how inclusion is understood and applied in government lower secondary mainstream schools in Jordan and Lebanon. It also intends to explore the extent these schools are able to reflect a model of inclusion for their learners and communities and hence contribute to building inclusive societies. Furthermore, it intends to explore the extent existing curriculum and teaching and learning practices are supporting learners with disabilities to learn (boys and girls attending lower secondary government ‘inclusive schools’), that are part of government inclusive school initiatives.

By exploring inclusion in government mainstream schools in these two countries, the research will highlight similarities, differences, successes, and wider experiences. These will be used to identify and reflect on the groups that may not be present in these ‘inclusive’ schools, as well as the approaches required for these schools to become inclusive for all. Having identified the groups that are not present, the extent those who are present believe that they are experiencing equitable access to the teaching and learning opportunities   as well as identifying existing gaps towards building whole school approach to inclusion, the research will conduct cross country analysis to draw on similarities and differences between these two countries and reflect on developing and strengthening South-to-South collaborative approach.

This research project is of great relevance to the objectives of the Disability Under Siege Network in terms of promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in lower secondary education, building local expertise and collaborating with concerned individuals to advance efforts and capacities of inclusion in the region. It nicely corresponds to its themes namely:

  • Lower secondary and out of school children with disabilities
  • Disability, refugees and war
  • Gendered dimensions of disability
  • Supporting research training for early career researchers, disability activists, and disability-led organisations


There is a limited amount of research providing rigorous evidence related to inclusion of persons with disabilities across the Arabic speaking countries. This research project is expected to contribute to existing empirical evidences and to offer evidence that may inform the quality of education available for children and young people in mainstream schools by providing policy makers with the evidence they need to advance inclusive practices whilst inclusion is being piloted in numerous government schools, and as part of the governments initiative to build inclusive schools. This may include evidence-based recommendations on curriculum and the enhancement of inclusion strategies and policies.

Working with researchers with and without disabilities from across the region as co-investigators may not only positively impact their research skills and enhance their knowledge in equity and inclusion across the targeted countries, but will impact the environments where they work in terms of widening knowledge in equity and inclusion in education. Given the diversity of the research team, it is expected that the impact would reach university students in Lebanon, Jordan, and across the Arabic speaking region as well as in the UK, and international organisations concerned with equity and inclusion for refugees and non-refugees.

In addition, the research intends to collaborate with diverse local co-researchers with and without a disability to support in the data gathering. Such collaboration would not only build the capacities of these researchers, but would also pave the way for more ‘insider-driven’ research in the future, whilst helping us gather data that may be difficult for international, or ‘outside’ researchers to obtain. Similarly, training and empowering researchers with disabilities may also serve as an example to what persons with disabilities can and are able to achieve when they are presented with the opportunity.