Equality and full participation for all?
School practices and special
education/integration in Greece
This chapter is an attempt to locate the question of inclusive education within the wider context of the Greek educational system. It is based on the assumption that at the heart of the idea of inclusive education lie serious issues concerning 'human rights' and 'equal opportunities'. Thus, it attempts to present a number of serious contradictions and conflicts relating to notions of rights and equality which emerged out of the tensions created within stated policy and between stated and enacted policy. These include the institutional/ideological conditions and relations of education policy practices surrounding the process of 'integration' and the construction of 'special needs'. The insights included in this discussion are part of a much wider exploration which has been conducted by in-depth semi-structured interviews with eight teachers at an ordinary primary school in Athens.
It has been reported that 'in modern societies education is one social context, if not the social context, wherein the tension, the dialogue and the politics of the self and others unfolds. The role that education plays in socialization, in citizenship formation, in making available the intellectual, cultural and recreational heritage of a society, in the provision of the resources of social imagination and creativity, and in enhancing one's vocational opportunities all point to the significance of education in shaping both the self and society' (Isaacs 1996: 38). It has been generally accepted that education is an 'enabling good' in the sense that it is required to obtain other social goods, such as income, employment and self-esteem.