This paper examines one key theme of ‘education and equality’ arising from a qualitative study that explores what special and inclusive education may mean for Chinese primary schools. The focus is on unpacking teachers’ interpretations, values, and deeper assumptions of the ‘equality’ concept. Drawing from 37 interviews with mainstream primary school teachers in a Chinese city, this paper illustrates that teachers may perceive the concept of ‘educational equality’ in terms of equal treatment and preferring utilitarian principles than equality. The analyses show how teachers’ understanding surrounding ‘education and equality’ informs their views and attitudes of the inclusion and exclusion of children with disabilities. This paper intends to draw attention to and highlight the importance of the need for Chinese teachers to think more deeply about educational equality beyond equal treatment. Responding to utilitarian perspectives in special and inclusive education, the paper reminds the importance of recognising that inclusion in its broad sense has the benefits of improving education and society for all, not just for the few in minority. The conclusion suggests areas for further investigations.
- inclusive education
- equal treatment
- educational quality
- growth of segregated provisions