SA Journal of Education, Vol 43, No 3 (2023)

Exploring teachers’ experiences in implementing the Screening, identification, assessment and support policy in South Africa

Carien Maree, Janet Condy, Lawrence Meda


Inclusion and equitable education, as articulated by the fourth sustainable development goal and anticipated by 2030 seems hard to attain in a context where teachers’ practices are inconsistent with inclusive national policies. In the study reported on here we investigated South African teachers’ experiences in implementing the screening, identification, assessment, and support (SIAS) policy in their classrooms. The intersectionality of colliding worldviews and the pedagogy of discomfort were used as conceptual framework. We adopted a qualitative case study within an interpretive paradigm. Twelve teachers were purposively selected from 3 focus group discussions. The results reveal that a disconnect between the inclusive policy and classroom practices occurs because teachers have negative attitudes towards using the document and feel inadequately trained to implement it. We conclude with 3 essential lessons about teachers’ disengagement with the policy: (i) teachers are reluctant to complete the SIAS documents because of the added administrative burden and a lack of knowledge about inclusive education; (ii) more experienced teachers influence the worldviews of newly qualified teachers (NQTs); and (iii) inclusive education training conducted by the district-based support team (DBST) is inadequate resulting in a disconnect between practice and pedagogical practices.

ORCiD iDs of authors:
Carien Maree -
Janet Condy -
Lawrence Meda -

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