School of Education

Challenges Arising from the Special Education Legacy in Russia and South Africa: a cross-case analysis

This article, co-authored by Dr Elizabeth Walton, has been published in Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education.

Dr Elizabeth Walton is an Associate Professor in Special and Inclusive Education and a member of the Centre for Research in Human Flourishing.


The pursuit of inclusive education in different countries is shaped by the extent and the nature of existing special educational provisions. We focus on two authoritarian regimes in the previous century: Soviet Russia (USSR) with its ideology of class (proletarian humanism and egalitarian universalism) and South Africa with its ideology of race (apartheid and discrimination). We make two assertions on the basis of a cross-case analysis based on a policy historiography. First, state ideology is visible, explicit and prominent in the shaping of special education. Second, the challenges of transitioning to a more inclusive education system are compounded by the ideological legacy of these regimes. Current moves towards inclusive education in both countries must contend with these ideological legacies, and we argue for greater recognition of the role of state ideologies in international and comparative studies of special and inclusive education.

Please visit the publisher's website to access the full article.

Posted on Tuesday 8th June 2021

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