In 2009, UNESCO published their Policy Guidelines on Inclusive Education, providing this definition of inclusive education:
Inclusive education is a process that involves the transformation of schools and other centres of learning to cater for all children – including boys and girls, students from ethnic and linguistic minorities, rural populations, those affected by HIV and AIDS, and those with disabilities and difficulties in learning and to provide learning opportunities for all youth and adults as well. Its aim is to eliminate exclusion that is a consequence of negative attitudes and a lack of response to diversity in race, economic status, social class, ethnicity, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ability. Education takes place in many contexts, both formal and non-formal, and within families and the wider community. Consequently, inclusive education is not a marginal issue but is central to the achievement of high quality education for all learners and the development of more inclusive societies. Inclusive education is essential to achieve social equity and is a constituent element of lifelong learning.
Click here to read the entire document.
UN: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 24 – Education
1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education. With a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning directed to:
- The full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity;
- The development by persons with disabilities of their personality, talents and creativity, as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential;
- Enabling persons with disabilities to participate effectively in a free society.
To read the entire article, visit this link: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=284
Inclusive language is an important component of inclusive education. Using and encouraging inclusive language in your classroom will result in open and respectful communication between the students and the teacher, and with each other.
This Inclusive Language article on the Monash University website is a fantastic resource outlining reasons for and examples of inclusive language, relating to race, gender and disability.
What does an inclusive classroom look like? Universal Design for Learning allows for multiple means of learning and of demonstrating knowledge. This article, Beyond Worksheets, A True Expression of Student Learning, presents a specific example of meaningful, student-centered learning activities, a fantastic approach for an inclusive classroom.
The Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Helen Szoke, launched the ‘Principles to promote and protect the human rights of international students’ at the Australian International Education Conference on 4 October 2012. The Principles aim to enhance the safety and well-being of international students in Australia. The Race Discrimination Commissioner encourages all those working with international students to consider how these can be effectively adopted and implemented in the ongoing development of policies and services relating to international students.
Broadly, the Principles can be used:
- as a guide for all organisations and government agencies that provide services to international students
- to inform the ongoing development of policies and services relating to international students, and
- to provide international students and their representative bodies with a guide on how their human rights can be better promoted and protected, to support their advocacy with governments, service providers and other agencies.
Click here to access this document.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948. The Declaration represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled.
Article 26 of the Declaration discusses the right to education:
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
To read the entire Declaration, click here.
Together We Learn Better: Inclusive Schools Benefit All Children
This is a fantastic article outlining some ways in which inclusive educational practices build a school’s capacity to educate all learners effectively.