NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ833679
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 87
ISSN: ISSN-0827-3383
Ethnic Minority Pupils in Swedish Schools: Some Trends in Over-Representation of Minority Pupils in Special Educational Programmes
Berhanu, Girma
International Journal of Special Education, v23 n3 p17-29 2008
The way categories, labels, and taxonomies are used depends upon national ideologies and nationally specific conceptions of citizenship and normality. Ethnicity, differences, disability and deviance are social constructions. Underachievement or overachievement in social (cognitive) performance or overrepresentation in special educational placements of certain groups of students is as much the product of categorisation or definitional processes as it is the workings of institutional procedures, patterns, and intransigence. In particular, schools' inability to accommodate difference and diversity causes exclusion and alienation. Globalisation and hegemonic neo-liberal ideology make it difficult to create a genuinely inclusive society, to produce complete citizens, and to promote equity. This study analyses the placement of ethnic minority students in special education programmes. It begins with a review of empirical reports that problematise the phenomenon of overrepresentation of students with immigrant background in special schools for intellectually disabled students. The analysis that follows is conducted through the prism of a number of perspectives, including sociocultural/historical theory, the inclusive education movement, multicultural education, and critical pedagogical theories. While there is no evidence to suggest that such overrepresentation is nationwide, the phenomenon can be identified in large cities where there are concentrations of immigrants. Analysis demonstrates that the problem is related to, among other factors, unreliable assessment procedures and criteria for referral and placement; lack of culturally sensitive diagnostic tools; the static nature of tests, including embedded cultural bias; sociocultural problems, family factors, and language problems; lack of parental participation in decision-making; power differentials between parents and school authorities; institutional intransigence and prejudices; and large resource inequalities that run along lines of race and class.
International Journal of Special Education. 2889 Highbury Street, Vancouver, BC V6R 3T7, Canada. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden