Inclusion - what is it?

Inclusion - what is it? - and consequences for our project

To develop the concept of inclusion is to describe it as a multidimensional concept with many different approaches.

Inclusion is the opposite of exclusion where people are fully or partially deprived of their participation in society. It is also a vision where all people - disabled or not - has equal opportunities for active citizenship.

Inclusion is about creating social communities where there is room and potential for diversity. This means that inclusion can be implemented for the benefit of all.

Inclusion requires mutual respect and understanding of each other's life situation and a willingness to continuously work towards inclusive society.

In the educational area, inclusion requires that teachers have more time to both the preparation and implementation, but also principals are challenged because of their general responsibility for the development of all learners.

Non-formal education is a good area to increase inclusive education because its flexible and not bound to central curricula.

Inclusive education and education for all - throughout life.

The UN Convention describes human rights as they should be experienced by people with disabilities. It is a kind of answer book that describes what is to be done to ensure that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination, which includes any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability, the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the equal recognition, enjoyment or exercise of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. This includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation (compensation).

The concept of the UN Convention includes persons who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

It is crucial to understand that disability is an evolving concept. Disability is a result of interaction between persons with impairments and the attitudinal and environmental barriers that may hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

There are some basic principles that must be considered to protect against discrimination based on disability. That is respect for differences and acceptance of persons with disabilities as a part of human diversity and humanity. We will have to recognize the need to promote and protect the human rights of all persons with disabilities, including those in need of more intensive support.

We must recognize the value of both present and future contributions of persons with disabilities to the overall well-being and diversity of their communities, and that it will give people with disabilities a stronger sense of belonging. It is a fundamental principle that persons with disabilities have the right to personal autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own choices.

For decades we have worked with inclusion as a concept for education and training for children, youth, adults and seniors with disabilities. So we have developed a general understanding of the concept of "inclusion". With the disability convention however, we get a closer understanding of this concept, and it provides a much better opportunity to achieve inclusion in the lifelong education and training. But it is crucial to recognize that inclusion is not just about education, it's about how people with disabilities, regardless of age or sex, have the opportunity to be equal citizens and participate in all contexts in which the individual wishes to participate.

Fundamentally speaking inclusion is about having society designed to take the population diversity into account and prevent exclusion. It is about who is responsible for organizing our society in accordance with citizens' needs, but also a requirement of taking into account all the needs different groups of the population may have, including people with disabilities. It requires some principles for inclusion to be realized. This will be done through the visibility of the individual among all others. No one shall be stored away. Everyone should have their place, so we can all become familiar with the diversity of society.

Inclusion also requires that we do something together, because it is the best way to create awareness and respect for each other. And we can only be visible and act together if we are able to do it together in the community, the place where we live. With inclusion comes the right to realize your own potential and the obligation to set your own frame in which it can take place - regardless your background, such as age, gender or ethnicity.

If we are approaching an inclusive education and training in relation to persons with disabilities, it is important to keep in mind that there is a right to education and training for all persons with disabilities. This will be achieved through inclusive education and training system at all levels, including through lifelong learning. The goal of education and training must be to achieve full personal development, so that each person should be able to develop its personality, its skills and its creativity mentally and physically. The individual must therefore be given optimal opportunities to realize its maximum potential, which among other things will be done through a challenge on an equal basis with others. Education and training system must be designed in such a way that no disabled people are excluded, and that education and training must be available where you live. There must be a reasonable accommodation of individual needs, for example through special educational support, aids or other.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

It must be emphasized that this report is based on principles of full and effective participation and inclusion in society (Article 3 pt. C) and equal opportunities (Article 3 pt. E).

The Convention describes among other things, a number of social, economic and cultural rights include equal access to education and all forms of higher education, lifelong learning, to work, to an adequate standard of living and participation in cultural and leisure activities and sports, including for travel and tourism.

The fulfilment of these rights must be in accordance with what is called the principle of progressive realization that is in line with the country's economic carrying capacity and social development.

Article 19 deals with the right to live independently and to be included in society, it will be achieved by Community services and facilities for the general population to be accessible to persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others and take their needs into account.

Article 24 deals with education and in paragraph 5 stated: "States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities have access to general tertiary education, vocational training, adult education and lifelong learning without discrimination and on an equal basis with others. To this end, States Parties shall ensure that, provide a reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities. "

Article 30 is about participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport. From the article point 5 states: "States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for the benefit of themselves, but also for the enrichment of society.”

In summary the Convention focus on

  1.   Inclusion
  2.   Equal opportunities
  3.  Non-discrimination

What is the consequence for our project “B-inclusive – education for all?”

To reach this goals our project focus on the following:

  •   We must be sure, that all kind of adult education should be accessible for all persons with disability.
  •  We must give the teachers better tools to teach in classes with both persons with disability and persons without disability, so the inclusive education is a realistic opportunity.
  •  We must accept, if persons with disability prefer to go in a segregated class. No one should be forced to join inclusive education against their will.

Therefor we recommend to work with different levels of inclusion.

  •  If possible and if the student wants to be included in a class with student without disability, it’s our obligation to make sure, that the settings – teachers qualifications, accessibility, the non-disabled students attitude etc. – in a positive way support the inclusive education.  
  •  If the student with disability prefers to go in a segregated class, it should be in an inclusive environment, so it is possible to meet non-disabled students in the breaks.