Original Research

Framing heuristics in inclusive education: The case of Uganda’s preservice teacher education programme

Proscovia S. Nantongo
African Journal of Disability | Vol 8 | a611 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v8i0.611 | © 2019 Proscovia S. Nantongo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 January 2019 | Published: 21 October 2019

About the author(s)

Proscovia S. Nantongo, Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; and, Department of Special Needs Studies, Faculty of Special Needs and Rehabilitation, Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda


Background: Recent education-related research has raised concerns about the persistent exclusion of vulnerable learners in Uganda. The Revised Primary Teacher Education Curriculum of 2013 marked an ambitious yet inconclusive attempt to advance the implementation of inclusive education but has encountered deeply entrenched sociocultural exclusionary practices among education experts.

Objectives: This study aimed to explicate education practitioners’ interpretations of Uganda’s flagship inclusive education programme in preservice primary teacher education.

Method: Drawing on the conceptual vocabulary of frame analysis and the qualitative analysis of individual and group interviews and classroom observations, the interpretations of inclusive education implementation in preservice primary teacher education in Uganda were examined. The participants included policy design experts, curriculum design experts and classroom practitioners.

Results: Three main findings emerged. Firstly, interpretations of inclusive education displayed a narrow framing heuristic of inclusive education as a perfunctory, daily practice rather than a pathway for reflective, inclusive pedagogical engagement. Secondly, the heuristic encouraged the treatment of inclusive pedagogy as a ‘label’ under a specific rubric referring to sensory impairments or disabilities – a historical device for sociocultural exclusion. Thirdly, inclusive education was a praxis but was misframed from its original intentions, causing tension and resentment among practitioners. These findings contribute to the debates on the sustainability of inclusive education beyond preservice teacher education.

Conclusion: Uganda’s flagship inclusive education programme in preservice primary teacher education was fraught with tensions, ambiguities and an overt, urgent need for change.


inclusive education; framing analysis; socio-historical factors; narrow framing heuristic; teacher training


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