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Abstract

Commitment to a single, inclusive education system has been the aspiration of reform in education in a democratic South Africa as articulated in White Paper 6: Special needs education: Building an inclusive education and training system (Department of Education, 2001, referred to hereafter as White Paper 6). Within a ‘barriers to learning’ approach to inclusive education, progress is being made with improved facilities and the implementation of AIDS awareness programmes. Managing the transition towards an inclusive education system has proved challenging in some areas, however, and the specific provision in policy documents directed towards children with disabilities is behind schedule. One component that is furthest behind in the proposed milestones is the implementation of the information and advocacy programme (Maher, 2007). This article discusses the need for the information and advocacy programme to be prioritized, and presents a model which weaves together an adaptation of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, 1989, 1993) and the tenets of human agency theory (Bandura, 2001; Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 1996; Bandura, Pastorelli, Barbaranelli, & Caprara, 1999; Carlson, 1997), which are central to decision-making, self-regulation and self-determination. This model provides a framework within which people can enact their democratic right in a wider sense than casting a political vote, potentially advancing their self-efficacy. The framework, furthermore, encourages people to begin to reposition themselves and to adjust their beliefs towards a more positive notion of the inclusion of children with special needs in regular education.