Inclusion Europe published a position paper on inclusive education that shares a need to do more and improve as the world of education changes.
Inclusion Europe encourages the world to the next step, and leave segregated education in history, provide every student with proper education, promote and enable schools where all students share the same classroom, where education methods are adapted to every student and teachers are equipped with skills, time, tools, and support to deliver proper education.
There is progress
Our movement was created a long time ago, when there was nothing, trying to find solutions.
We put a lot of work into securing education for children with intellectual disabilities. Since then, progress was made.
Every child has the right to education. There are strong laws to protect this right. There are inclusive education policies. A wide range of tools and methodologies for children with disabilities exist. There are many schools, where children with and without disabilities benefit from learning together. There is a wide range of research and studies documenting how school inclusion works. There is a collaboration with those in and outside the education system who help students move from one education level to another, and from education to work. There are some people with intellectual disabilities working as teachers or researchers.
This isn’t enough
Thousands of children with intellectual disabilities do not get any education at all. They and their families are left on their own. Countless children with intellectual disabilities do not learn together with their non-disabled friends and peers. This applies especially to students with complex support needs. Segregated schooling breaks natural relations between children, leads to limited job opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities, and puts an extra burden on students, parents, and society. Inclusive schools exist and are funded as random “good practice” examples; support to extending their know-how to the whole system is lacking. There are multiple struggles for inclusive education going on, without recognising their common cause and joining forces.
Inclusive education policies and practices are not taken seriously enough to be put in place in mainstream education. The world of education is changing. There is more focus on learning interpersonal skills, on being flexible and ready to deal with situations and problems (as opposed to the traditional learning of facts and figures). This trend is only going to accelerate.
As the world changes, we need to adapt the way we promote and advocate for proper education for all.
Let’s take the next step, and leave segregated education to history.
Let’s provide every student with proper education.
Let’s promote and enable schools where:
• All students share the same classroom,
• Education methods are adapted to every student,
• Teachers are equipped with skills, time, tools, and support to deliver proper education to all students.
Charlie needed an education that would allow him to be himself with everyone else.
He was going to be dependent on other human beings for the rest of his life.
That’s why I wanted him to know how to decide whom he can trust, and how to have others respect him.
And he learned that.
Did he pass a test? No.
Did he get a degree? No.
Did he learn how to be himself? Absolutely.
And isn’t that what most of us go to school for?
To find out what is it that we like, who we are and how to interact with others?
– Sue Swenson – “Inclusive education paves the way to understand human rights”
Education position paper
Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.
This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.
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