Inclusive education, in particular the inclusion of learners with disabilities, presents challenges in any setting. Yet inclusive education is a vital element for developing societies that challenge discrimination and that see diversity as a positive resource rather than as a threat. Inclusive education is therefore a challenge that we must rise to. Arguably, the need for inclusive education is even greater in situations of crisis and conflict, where discrimination may be rife, even causing the crisis, and where acceptance of diversity and reconciliation is essential for moving the society forward again.
The international community has specifically addressed the issue of inclusive education through the following global conventions:
- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,1989 introduces the right to protection from discrimination in grounds of disability for the first time in international human rights law.
- World Declaration on Education for All, 1990 highlights the steps needed to provide equal access to education to every category of disabled persons as an integral part of the education system.
- United Nations Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, 1993 elaborate the steps needed to translate the principle of equal primary, secondary and tertiary educational opportunities for children, youth and adults with disabilities in integrated settings into practice.
- Salamanca Declaration and Framework for Action, 1994 introduces the guiding principle that ordinary schools should accommodate all children, regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions.
- UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006 introduces an obligation to ensure an inclusive education for persons with disabilities at all levels.
- CRPD General Comment on the Right to Inclusive Education, 2016 elaborates the measures States must introduce to guarantee inclusive quality education for all persons with disabilities.
- SDGs Goal 4 introduces commitment to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
- Education For All as set out in global goals and action agendas, really does mean education for all, including those children whose education has been disrupted by humanitarian crises. And this includes those who have disabilities from prior to a crisis or as a result of a crisis.
- Education in emergency situations arguably requires more focus on ensuring access for persons with disabilities given that crises cause physical and psychological damage to people. Persons with disabilities are also likely to face increased risks and suffer even more of a disadvantage in terms of access to aid (including food, water, shelter, and education), precisely because they are unable to physically access food distribution points, water points, sanitation facilities, schools, and so on.
- Education in emergencies provides an opportunity to build inclusive education systems from the beginning in situations where education systems have largely or sometimes entirely broken down.
- Support and training for educators working in emergency situations is critical to the success of inclusive education interventions, given that teachers are often untrained and often traumatized as a result of the crisis as well. Proper training and awareness-raising provides an opportunity for teachers to ensure accessibility for all learners, according to their needs.
- Inclusive education is “democracy in action”. It offers a chance to rebuild broken societies and bring people together from across divides as they face a common challenge in providing all learners with equitable access to safe and relevant education, as well as instilling a culture of acceptance of difference and diversity.
INEE Inclusive Education Task Team
The INEE Inclusive Education Task Team aims to promote the key principles, behaviours and actions necessary for ensuring that all excluded and marginalized people are included in emergency education opportunities..
- Produce resources useful to emergency practitioners which give practical advice on making inclusive education a reality
- Influence emergency education training schemes to more effectively promote inclusive education principles and practice
- Produce advocacy messages and information which can be used to get greater attention and support for inclusive education in emergencies
The Task Team promotes a focus on inclusive education for all groups marginalised because of disability, ethnicity, gender, language, or poverty among others. However, the Team also has a specific focus on disability, acknowledging that children and adults with disabilities are often the most excluded from education during periods of crisis and emergency, and that the barriers to participation in learning for people with disabilities are often perceived to be the most challenging during emergencies.
If you are interested in participating in this Task Team, please send an introductory email to firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate your interest. If you are interested in this work but are not yet a member of INEE, please join us - www.ineesite.org/join.
INEE Pocket Guide to Inclusive Education
The INEE pocket guide, “Education in Emergencies: Including Everyone”, takes a broad look at inclusive education principles and the types of actions that can be taken to make education in crises contexts more inclusive. It a quick reference guide to help practitioners make sure that education in emergencies is accessible and inclusive for everyone, particularly those who have been traditionally excluded from education.
This pocket guide outlines useful principles for an inclusive education approach in emergencies and provides advice for planning, implementing and monitoring. The guide also looks at the issue of resistance to inclusion, and highlights ways in which organisations can support their emergency staff to develop more inclusive education responses. The Pocket Guide complements the INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery (INEE Minimum Standards), particularly the crosscutting issues reflected within them. These relate to human and children’s rights, gender, HIV/AIDS, disability and vulnerability.
INEE Pocket Guide to Supporting Learners with Disabilities
The INEE Pocket Guide to Supporting Learners with Disabilities is specifically aimed at providing practical advice to teachers/educators, as one of the biggest challenges in the development of inclusive education is helping practitioners to turn theory into practice. The pocket guide provides advice with key issues such as helping children get to/from the learning space, recognizing when children need more learning support, arranging learning spaces so they are more inclusive, adapting teaching and learning activities, and so on.
- INEE Pocket Guide to Supporting Learners with Disabilities (available in Bahasa Indonesian, English, and French)
- INEE Pocket Guide to Inclusive Education (available in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesian, English, French, and Spanish)
- Teachers can help everyone learn (poster)
- Inclusive Education in Emergencies. Module 15 of the Education in Emergencies Training Package
- INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit Thematic Guide: Disability and Inclusive Education
- EENET’s Enabling Education Review 5, Dec 2016 - focus on education in emergencies
- “Education access for all”, article in Forced Migration Review July 2010, Issue 35 (p34-35)
- UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education
- Index for Inclusion (available in several different languages, for several different contexts)
- Embracing Diversity: Toolkit for creating inclusive, learning-friendly environments
- Specialized booklet 3: Teaching Children with Disabilities in Inclusive Settings (UNESCO Bangkok 2009)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) General Comment on the Right to Inclusive Education (UN, 2016) - Arabic, English, French
- Overview of the General Comment on the Right to Inclusive Education (UN, 2016)
- Quality Inclusive Education at the Heart of the SDGs (IDDC, 2015)
- The Right of Children with Disability to Education (UNICEF CEE/CIS, 2012)
- Thematic Alert on Inclusive Education
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