Julia Biermann, Dipl.–Soz., Dipl.–Päd.


seit 2018
Universitäts-Assistentin an der Universität Innsbruck
2018 Promotion an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Doctoral Thesis: “Comparing Article 24 UN CRPD’s Influence on Inclusive Education in Nigeria and Germany: Institutional Change in Educational Discourses. “

Gefördert von der Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung

Legally backed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), inclusive education has gained momentum as a global human rights paradigm in recent years. But how does the UN CRPD actually influence the development of inclusive school systems within state parties? To answer this question, this study dives into the context-specific understandings of Article 24 UN CRPD in two state parties equally yet differently challenged: Nigeria, the country with the highest total number of out-of-school-children worldwide, where most children with disabilities are excluded from education; and Germany, the country with one of the most differentiated special education systems in the world, where these children primarily learn in special schools.

Using data from fieldwork-based case studies—qualitative analysis of documents and interviews—the study reconstructs the country-specific policy discourses about inclusive education. Applying a neo-institutional theoretical framework, it then reveals the impact of these discourses on the institutional change of the respective school system. In both countries, discourses are characterized by two striking similarities. First, the understanding that the development of an inclusive school system depends on an institutionalised special education system; in Nigeria because of its lack and in Germany because of its high level of professionalization. Secondly, in both discourses this outcome—termed the ‘special educationalisation of inclusion’—is facilitated by similar institutional processes. These allow for the decoupling of aim and goal of inclusive education change to demonstrate the contextual appropriateness of any reform processes.

In systematically comparing the contextual appropriation of Article 24 UN CRPD in countries of maximum contrast, this study sheds light on the relevance of country-specific institutional contexts of education for the global reform challenge of developing inclusive school systems. Furthermore, it reveals how the focus on contextual particularities can contribute to reinterpretations of the human right to inclusive education.






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