Inclusive education:
an overview
International Workshop
Handicap International
September 2007
Susie Miles
School of Education, University of Manchester
Enabling Education Network – EENET
What does
inclusion look
The right to education for all:
access and quality
• 1989
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
• 1990
World Conference on Education for All (EFA)
by the year 2000, Jomtien, Thailand
• 1993
UN Standard Rules (on Disability)
• 1994
Salamanca Statement – on Special Needs
Education: access and quality
• 2000
World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal,
Review of progress on EFA Conference
Millennium Development Goals (Goal 2 UPE)
• 2006
UN Convention on the Rights of people with
Disabilities (Article 24: Education)
The UN Convention on the Rights of
the Child, 1989
• Article 2
Regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion,
political or other opinion, property, disability, birth
• Article 28/29
The right to quality education
develop the child’s personality, talents and mental and
physical abilities, develop respect for the child’s own
cultural and national values
• Article 23 Disabled children’s education
ensure disabled children have access to education while
recognising their need for special care and assistance
The Salamanca Statement, 1994
“… schools should accommodate all children regardless of their
physical, intellectual, social, linguistic or other conditions. This
should include disabled and gifted children, street and working
children, children from remote or nomadic populations, children
from linguistic, ethnic, or cultural minorities and children from
other disadvantaged or marginalized areas and groups.”
(Salamanca Statament, para 2)
Inclusive schools are “the most effective means of combating
discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communities,
building an inclusive society and achieving education for all;
moreover, they provide an effective education to the majority of
children and improve the efficiency and ultimately the costeffectiveness of the entire education system.”
(Introduction to Framework for Action, para 3)
EENET’s definition of
inclusive education
all children can learn
inclusive education is a dynamic process which is constantly
differences in children, such as age, gender, ethnicity, language,
disability, HIV and TB status, should be acknowledged and
education structures, systems and methodologies should be
developed to meet the needs of all children
inclusive education should be seen as part of a wider strategy to
promote an inclusive society
progress need not be restricted by large class sizes or a shortage
of material resources.
Based on the Agra Conference, 1998
A UK Department for International
Development (DfID) definition,
“Inclusive education in a
developing country implies the
equal right of all children to the
‘educational package’, however
basic that package may be.”
Disability Awareness in Action
Definition of inclusion, 2003
“When we refer to ‘inclusion’, we
mean the participation of disabled
children through the provision of
fully accessible information,
environments and support.”
A UNESCO definition of inclusive education, 2001
“Inclusive education starts from the belief that the right to
education is a basic human right and the foundation for a
more just society.
Inclusive education takes the Education for All (EFA)
agenda forward by finding ways of enabling schools to
serve all children in their communities….
Inclusive education is concerned with all learners, with a
focus on those who have traditionally been excluded from
educational opportunities – such as learners with special
needs and disabilities, children from ethnic and linguistic
UN Convention on the Rights of
People with Disabilities, 2006
Article 24: Education
• All disabled children and young people “can access an inclusive,
quality, free primary and secondary education on an equal basis
with others in the communities in which they live.”
• “Reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements.”
• Support should be provided, “within the general education
system, to facilitate their effective education.”
• “The education of … children, who are blind, deaf and deafblind,
is delivered in the most appropriate languages and modes and
means of communication for the individual, and in environments
which maximize academic and social development.”
Inclusive education at all levels
Local government
Individual child
Poverty, gender,
race, HIV/AIDS,
Information and
Key Issues
Role of disabled
people and
their organisations
Early childhood
education and
Child to Child
and pupil voice
Adult and nonformal education
Family and
An inclusive education project in Oriang, Kenya,
supported by Leonard Cheshire International
Physical access
This bridge is the only access to the nearest school
“Levelling” the school environment
Teachers and pupils working to prevent soil erosion.
New toilets adapted for students and staff.
The importance of good lighting
This window has been enlarged to improve light quality.
Inclusive learning environments
Improved seating arrangements, collaborative learning, well lit
classrooms, walls painted white.
Worrying trends
• The majority of disabled children do not go to school.
• Disabled children are often seen as ‘ineducable’ and ‘not worth
wasting resources on’.
• Disability ‘mainstreaming’ is still the dominant view in education
• Special schools and specialists are often considered to be
essential – rather than developing capacity in communities.
• ‘Special units’ are seen as a way forward – yet they are
• Most agencies focus on schooling - not enough attention paid to
alternative forms of education
• The term ‘inclusive education’ is used to mean different things in
different places.
• Teacher education rarely keeps up with changes in policy and
Signs of hope
• School fees have been abolished in many
• UNESCO is promoting child-friendly
(inclusive) schools
• Inclusive education is now a right – in over
100 countries (those who have signed the
new UN Convention)
• The inclusion of disabled children is often a
catalyst for change and can challenge EFA to
be more inclusive.
• People are passionate about sharing their
experience of making IE a reality.
An inclusive approach to education for all
Focus on
for All
Improving the quality of