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Reforms and challenges in the era of inclusive education: the case of China


  • Meng Deng,

  • Kim Fong Poon-McBrayer

Address for correspondence:

 Professor Meng Deng, PhD

 Faculty of Education

 Beijing Normal University


 People's Republic of China 100875



This article, written by Meng Deng of Beijing Normal University and Kim Fong Poon-McBrayer of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, reviews and analyses the reform of special education in China, the challenges confronting Chinese special education provisions, and how the Chinese inclusive education model, namely ‘Learning in Regular Classrooms’, has been shaped by the pragmatic needs aligning with the nation's economic and social developments. In an effort to provide wider school access, the current inclusive education model has become the form of educational placement that serves the majority of students with disabilities in China. The authors conclude that reforms in the last two decades have resulted in dramatic changes and progress in many facets of special education service delivery, school structure, administrative monitoring mechanism, and instructional practices. However, the current Chinese special education service structure is still shaky, with inadequate resources, personnel preparation and support at the local level. Fundamental changes to the examination-oriented mainstream education system are still needed, to enhance the quality of education for students with special needs.