A diagnostic study on inclusive education in Panama
This study describes the reality of inclusion in Panama’s public schools, whether officially designated as “inclusive” or not. It is based on an analysis of demographic data from the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA) and other associated factors, as well as a process of data collection in the schools that involved surveys, observation and interviews. It is a mixed-methods study in which presents 1) percentages of students with special educational needs in the public schools, by region; 2) a review of the literature and secondary data available in the Panamanian system on diagnostic processes, data monitoring, professional personnel, types of teacher and student support, and perceptions on inclusion; and 3) an exploration of possible related factors and questions for future research.
The study adds to the knowledge base with information from the field and centralized quantitative data on the current situation in the schools, beyond a description of existing policies and projects, with regard to educational inclusion that serves as a first step for further study on evaluation of inclusion processes and their impact.