Inclusive education, ensuring that all excluded and marginalized persons have access to education, 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. 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.
Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, 2016 aims to ensure inclusive response and services in all emergency sectors with education being a key transitional component
- 2030 Education Framework for Action combines the new EFA goals with SDG4 committing to a single renewed education agenda to reverse the trend of missing global targets
- 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.
Education For All as set out in the Dakar Framework for Action, really does mean education for all, including those children, numbering 65 million, whose education has been disrupted by humanitarian crises. That includes those who have disabilities from prior to the disaster or as a result of the natural or man-made disaster.
- Education in emergency situations arguably requires more focus on ensuring access for persons with disabilities given that natural and man-made disasters 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), precisely because they are unable to physically access food distribution points, water points, sanitation facilities, schools, and so on.
Several other videos are also available online in EENET video catalogue.
This collection was developed with the support of Sandrine Bohan Jacquot, Inclusive Education Policy Officer at Handicap International, Humanity & Inclusion.