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Educational placement for children with disabilities remains a controversial issue facing the world today characterized by paradigm shifts in the conceptualization and practice of education for learners with disabilities, ranging from ‘Mainstreaming’ and ‘Integration’ to ‘Inclusion’. One would have thought that through conceptualization shifts, learners with disabilities would have benefitted significantly. However, there seems to be no agreement as to which paradigm offers the best education for learners with disabilities. Botswana, as part of the global community is also caught up in this paradigm shift debate. Therefore, this position paper presents an overview of the evolution of special education policy and its associated practices in Botswana. It focuses on learners with intellectual disabilities as part of the Inclusive Education constituency in Botswana. It explores the challenges posed by continual paradigm shifts and practices as evidenced in the existing literature and from the findings of an exploratory study in Botswana. The paper makes several recommendations on the practice of Inclusive Education, including the need for clear legislation, a thoughtful and well researched transition involving entire school communities.
Key words: Special Education, Inclusive Education, Mainstreaming, Intellectual disabilities, Botswana