Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that persons with disabilities have a right to education which they must be able to exercise on the basis of equal opportunity. For that, the Convention requires that there must be an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning.
Inclusion is not the same as integration. Whereas integration requires the child to adjust to an education system, inclusion must be about making the system adapt to each child. Inclusive education contributes to the self-actualisation and development of children whatever their disabilities or care needs by maximising their inclusion into the fabric of the local community and that of wider society. It is a prerequisite for them to lead a dignified and successful life as future citizens.
Inclusive education is also important to the quality of life of the family as a whole. It enables the parents to take a different perspective on their child and the plans they are making for his/her life: it gives them the right to raise and educate a child “like other children”, in the same places and in the same way as other families, making it easier to engage with other parents in a community social network.
It also enables parents to give more of themselves into the educational side and work in partnership with professionals. By dispelling the marginalising effect of disability, inclusive education helps siblings see their disabled brother/sister in a different way, and improves acceptance by the extended family.
Inclusive education challenges all education systems, calls them into question. It enables development towards a differentiated teaching, individualised learning that can work for all pupils in tackling school failure. It stimulates teachers, who improve their teaching methods, and energizes the school staff as a whole.
Finally, inclusive education plays into a paradigm shift in developing a culture of social inclusion that fosters autonomy and self-determination by and non-discrimination against people with disabilities.
Published on 14 Sep 2011
Updated on 11 Dec 2011