Dr Matthew Schuelka

Dr Matthew Schuelka

School of Education
Lecturer in Inclusive Education
Programme Director, Inclusion and Special Educational Needs (ISEN)

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Dr Matthew Schuelka is Lecturer in Inclusive Education and also serves as the Programme Director for the Inclusion and Special Educational Needs (ISEN) programme at the University of Birmingham – both in the UK and in Dubai.

He comes from a diverse background of study, research, and teaching experience in the United States, Bhutan, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom. Past school teaching experience includes general education, music education, language arts, and special/inclusive education. Dr Schuelka is very active in inclusive education development, policy, and understanding around the world. He has been involved in educational research and development projects in places such as the United States, Serbia, Zambia, India, Japan, Malaysia, and especially Bhutan. He is a consulting advisor for the Global Resource Center on Inclusive Education, based at the University of Minnesota, and has undertaken research and consultation for UNICEF, USAID, JICA, the British Academy, and the Toyota Foundation.

Dr. Schuelka has a wide research focus on inclusive education policy, systems, and structures; inclusion as a whole-school approach (i.e. Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, Universal Design for Learning, and other frameworks); educational anthropology; and disability studies.


  • Ph.D, University of Minnesota – Educational Policy and Administration with emphasis in Comparative and International Education
  • M.A., Stanford University – International Education Administration and Policy Analysis
  • M.Ed., University of Vermont – Special Education
  • B.A., University of Minnesota – Music Education with minor in English Literature

Other activities

Dr. Schuelka is a member of the British Association for Comparative and International Education, the American Anthropological Association, the National Association of Special Education Teachers (USA), the Society for Disability Studies; and the Comparative and International Education Society, to which he served as Chair of the Inclusive Education Special Interest Group until 2018. He has consulted/continues to consult with UNICEF, USAID, JICA, UNESCO, the Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education, the Bhutanese Ministry of Education, and various NGOs in the country of Bhutan. 


Highlight publications

Schuelka, M & Engsig, T 2020, 'On the question of educational purpose: Complex educational systems analysis for inclusion', International Journal of Inclusive Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2019.1698062

Schuelka, M, Johnstone, C, Thomas, G & Artiles, A (eds) 2019, The SAGE Handbook of Inclusion and Diversity in Education. SAGE Publications, London. <https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/the-sage-handbook-of-inclusion-and-diversity-in-education/book258756#reviews>

Schuelka, M 2018, 'The cultural production of the 'disabled' person: constructing student difference in Bhutanese schools', Anthropology and Education Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 183-200. https://doi.org/10.1111/aeq.12244

Recent publications


Schuelka, M & Maxwell, T 2016, Education in Bhutan: Culture, Schooling, and Gross National Happiness. Education in the Asia-Pacific Region, Springer, Singapore.


Schuelka, M, Braun, A & Johnstone, C 2020, 'Beyond access and barriers: inclusive education and systems change', Forum for International Research in Education, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 1-7. https://doi.org/10.32865/fire202061198

Ware, H & Schuelka, M 2019, 'Constructing ‘disability’ in Myanmar: teachers, community stakeholders, and the complexity of disability models', Disability & Society, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 863-884. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2019.1580186

Schuelka, M & Sherab, K 2019, 'The Value of Research Culture in Bhutan', The Druk Journal, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 72-83. <http://drukjournal.bt/the-value-of-research-culture/>

Schuelka, M, Sherab, K & Yangzome Nidup, T 2018, 'Gross National Happiness, British values, and non-cognitive skills: the role and perspective of teachers in Bhutan and England', Educational Review. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2018.1474175

Schuelka, M 2015, 'The evolving construction and conceptualisation of ‘disability’ in Bhutan', Disability & Society. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2015.1052043

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Schuelka, M, Johnstone, C & Swadek, G 2020, Quality education for all? The promises and limitations of the SDG framework for inclusive education and students with disabilities. in A Wulff (ed.), Grading goal four: Tensions, threats, and opportunities in the Sustainable Development Goal on quality education. Brill. https://doi.org/https://brill.com/view/title/57471

Schuelka, M & Lapham, K 2019, Comparative and international inclusive education: Trends, dilemmas, and future directions. in A Wiseman (ed.), Annual Review of Comparative International Education. vol. 37, International Perspectives on Education and Society, Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., Bingley, UK.

Schuelka, M, Johnstone, C, Thomas, G & Artiles, A 2019, Diversity and inclusion in education: Inclusive education scholarship in the Twenty-First Century. in M Schuelka, C Johnstone, G Thomas & A Artiles (eds), The SAGE Handbook on Inclusion and Diversity in Education. SAGE Publications. <https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/the-sage-handbook-of-inclusion-and-diversity-in-education/book258756>

Schuelka, M 2018, Advancing a comparative case study approach towards education and disability research: An example from Bhutan. in N Singal, P Lynch & S Johansson (eds), Education and Disability in the Global South: New Perspectives from Africa and Asia. Bloomsbury, pp. 89-106.

Schuelka, M 2017, Learning at the top of the world: education policy construction and meaning in Bhutan. in T Jules & P Ressler (eds), Re-reading educational policy and practice in small states. Peter Lang.

Schuelka, M & Dorji, R 2016, Children with Disabilities in Bhutan: Transitioning from Special Educational Needs to Inclusive Education. in M Schuelka & T Maxwell (eds), Education in Bhutan: Culture, Schooling, and Gross National Happiness. Springer, pp. 181-198.

Commissioned report

Schuelka, M 2018, Implementing Inclusive Education. DFID. <https://www.gov.uk/dfid-research-outputs/implementing-inclusive-education>

Schuelka, M 2017, Non-Cognitive Skills: The Experience of Teachers and Schools: A Summary of Research from Bhutan and England.

Special issue

Schuelka, M, Braun, A & Johnstone, C (eds) 2020, 'Beyond Access and Barriers: Inclusive Education and Systems Change', Forum for International Research in Education, vol. 6, no. 1. <https://fire-ojs-ttu.tdl.org/fire/index.php/FIRE/issue/view/35>

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