What is the Key to Success in Inclusive Education?
According to UNESCO, Inclusive Education means that the school can provide good education to all the pupils irrespective of their varying abilities with ensured equal opportunities to learn together. Inclusive education is an ongoing process. Teachers must work actively and deliberately to reach its goals.
Bringing in Inclusive Education
Nothing worth having comes easy. When we talk about Inclusive Education, the same rule follows. Beyond being an education philosophy, it is a life skill that can have the most positive, far-reaching consequences. When children interact daily, socially and academically with peers who are diverse and different, a certain magic spontaneously happens. They learn to understand – and invariably also appreciate – that each individual comes with their own characteristics, strengths and limitations. They grow up and take these skills and sensibilities along with them as adults into their wider spheres. They have, to a large extent, already inculcated greater sensitivity, better understanding, and greater tolerance. Qualities in frighteningly short supply in today’s world.
None of this comes easy. Implementing inclusivity in education in the real world would call for resources, the will and proper monitoring. It would require a learning resource centre or an in-house team of specialists who could address the unique needs of special needs children. Enthusiastic, skilled and sensitized teaching staff would be needed to teach inclusively. The curriculum would need to include locally relevant themes and contributions by marginalized and minority groups. Parental involvement would need to be maximised. Given the challenges compounded by low funding, and often lower will or support, inclusivity is all too often excluded completely.
Are we genuinely prepared to advance inclusive education?
It would mean holding governments accountable for implementing antidiscrimination legislation, and legal mandates for inclusion. Schools would need to receive adequate and sustainable financial support. Parents would need to be empowered to assert their children’s right to education in inclusive settings. Inclusive education would need to be made a shared responsibility, including educators, social workers, parents and students to participate in its design, delivery and monitoring.
- Inclusive Education should include subjects with high social and community content because they need to be sensitive to the needs of students and the environment.
- Quality, equality and equity concepts should be translated into specific actions of educative interventions.
- The collaborative work among educators facilitates inclusion and needs to be promoted in the Teacher Preparation Programmes.
- The teacher learns when teaching and the students teach when they learn.
Benefits from Inclusive Education:
- Develop individual strengths and gifts, with high and appropriate expectations for each child.
- Work on individual goals while participating in the life of the classroom with other students their own age.
- Involve their parents in their education and in the activities of their local schools.
- Fostering a school culture of respect and belonging. Inclusive education provides opportunities to learn about and accept individual differences, lessening the impact of harassment and bullying.
- Develop friendships with a wide variety of other children, each with their own individual needs and abilities.
- Positively affect both their school and community to appreciate diversity and inclusion on a broader level.