Gratitude versus children’s rights: an exploration Mothers’ attitudes towards disability and inclusive education in Palestine

Alison MacKenzie*, Christine Bower, Mohammed Owaineh

*Corresponding author for this work

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The Palestinian National Authority has signed into law human rights protocols that promote, protect and ensure the rights of all children and the rights of persons with disabilities, including the right to an inclusive, equitable education. These protocols are supported by a series of laws and policies which seek to realise the aim of respecting all human rights entitlements. However, chronic occupation has devastated Palestine’s infrastructure, fractured the economy, and fragmented the integrity of the State, with the consequence that inclusive education is difficult to achieve. Shame, stigma, and prejudice about disability, and general ignorance about the rights of children are also significant barriers to inclusion. This research focuses on the inclusion of children and young adults with disabilities in educational and vocational training centres in Palestine. Two, semi-focused focus groups were conducted with mothers of children with disabilities to explore their attitudes to disability and whether their children were being provided with an education that met their needs as learners with disabilities. The data was analysed against the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and reveals that the mothers generally valued the centres. However, low expectations and lack of respect for, or understanding about, children’s rights, mean that children with disabilities do not have equal opportunities to make the most of their talents and develop to their fullest potential. As a result, children will continue to face discrimination, segregation or exclusion, not only within educational settings but also within their communities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research Open
Issue number1
Early online date23 Jun 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 23 Jun 2020


  • General Comment 4
  • Inclusive Education
  • Rights of Children with Disabilities


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