Disability, curriculum and integration in China

John Edward LEWIS, Suk Ching Stella CHONG, Yuen Ching LO

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Current data indicate that there are six million young people of school age with disabilities in China. Of these, only about 50 per cent attend any form of schooling, with approximately 220,000 of them enrolled in special schools and classes. The remainder attend regular classrooms. This means that there are about three million students with disabilities who at present lack any access to education. In May 1996 it was declared that in order to improve this situation, over the next five years, China plans to provide school places for 80 per cent of its disabled youngsters. In order to achieve this goal, the Chinese central education authorities have announced a significant change in policy direction towards integration. Instead of their previous commitment to the establishment of increasing numbers of special schools, it is now planned that the current number of about 1,400 special schools will be increased to 2,000, so that all regions of the country have access to at least one. At that point, no more special schools will be built. The extra places needed to increase the school attendance rate of youngsters with disabilities will be created in regular classes in regular schools. This paper gives an overview of the curriculum arrangements in China's four types of special schools, including their historical development, subjects taught, teaching arrangements and management. A number of difficulties confronting China's special education policy-makers are canvassed and reasons suggested for their increasing commitment to a strategy of integration. It is proposed that China enjoys three advantages in the pursuit of an integrated school system. Copyright © 1997 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-106
JournalEuropean Journal of Special Needs Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1997


Lewis, J., Lau-Chong, S., & Lo, Y. C. J. (1997). Disability, curriculum and integration in China. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 12(2), 95-106.


  • Special education
  • Comparative education
  • Disability
  • China
  • Integration
  • Curriculum


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