Learning support for students with learning difficulties in India and Australia: Similarities and differences

Grace Thomas, Janet Whitten


In Australia, principles of inclusivity and access are explicit in education policies and are actively supported by government funding. In India, with a vast and diversely managed array of schools, limited resources and an absence of public funding, it cannot be assumed that official principles of access and equity apply. This small-scale study of five English-medium independent primary schools in Bangalore, India and five independent primary schools in Adelaide, Australia highlights the importance of context to practice when providing support for children who have learning difficulties (LD). Findings showed that in the Indian schools, segregation was the norm. Funding for students with disabilities was charity-based and the recognition of learning support was minimal. In the Australian schools, inclusion was the norm. The demand for services was high and efforts at accommodation were constrained by funding criteria. In both contexts, definition of need and the quality of teaching were significant issues.

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