Inclusive education

Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that persons with disabilities have the right to education and to be included in the general education system on an equal basis with others. The Convention requires that all children with disabilities must be provided with the necessary support and there must be an inclusive education system at all levels as well as lifelong learning. The EU and 27 Member States have ratified the Convention and it is a legal obligation to implement what is required under the Convention.

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 the needs of each children. Inclusive education contributes to developing the personality, talents and creativity of children with disabilities to their fullest potential. 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 parents to take a different perspective on their child: it gives them the opportunity to raise and educate a child in light of the human rights model towards disability and advocate for their equal participation in society, just like any other children.

Inclusive education should enable parents to work in partnership with the educational system and professionals and to participate in the creation of inclusive learning atmosphere that positively contribute to the well-being of the child and the extended family.

Inclusive education challenges all education systems, calls them into question. It enables development towards more flexible teaching curricula, person-centred approach towards learning that can work for all pupils in the school system. It stimulates teachers, who improve their teaching methods, and energizes the school staff as a whole.

Finally, inclusive education supports a paradigm shift towards developing social inclusion by fostering autonomy and self-determination and implements the principle of non-discrimination of persons with disabilities.

COFACE key resources

Policy position on Early Child Education and Care (2014)

COFACE-Disability members advocate for inclusive education for all children (2016)

MEDIA RELEASE – Building sustainable and future-proof education systems: Families, as first educators, have their say (2018)

“Building sustainable and future-proof education systems: How can families contribute to a paradigm shift?” 4-5 October, Austria, Conference (2018)

Inclusive education from right to reality: is legislation enough to empower families? (2018)

S.H.I.F.T. – A guide to shift towards meaningful inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families (2019) EN, FR, PT, ES

Projects on inclusive education:

EU CONVINCE – EU Common values and inclusive education

Implementing inclusion in schools


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