Inclusive Education Is a Multi-Faceted Concept

By Mitchell, David | CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Inclusive Education Is a Multi-Faceted Concept


Mitchell, David, CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal


Introduction

At its most basic, inclusive education means educating learners with special educational needs in regular education settings. This process involves the transformation of schools to cater for all children. In the present paper, I will elaborate on the notion that inclusive education (IE) is a multifaceted concept, which can be summarised in the formula IE = V+P+5As+S+R+L, where

V = Vision

P = Placement

A = Adapted Curriculum

A = Adapted Assessment

A = Adapted Teaching

A = Acceptance

A = Access

S = Support

R = Resources

L = Leadership

This is shown in Figure 1.

Vision

Inclusive education depends on educators at all levels of the system being committed to its underlying philosophy and being willing to implement it. This means that education systems and schools should articulate an inclusive culture in which "there is some degree of consensus ... around values of respect for difference and a commitment to offering all pupils access to learning opportunities" (Ainscow & Miles, 2008, p. 27). It means recognising the obligations that most countries entered into when they signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons (United Nations, 2006), which includes a significant commitment to inclusive education in Article 24, stating, inter alia:

1. States Parties recognise the right of persons with disabilities to education. With a view to realising this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels, and life-long learning, directed to: (a) The full development of the human potential and sense of dignity and self worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity; (b) The development by persons with disabilities of their personality, talents and creativity, as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential; (c) Enabling persons with disabilities to participate effectively in a free society.

2. In realising this right, States Parties shall ensure that:

(a) Persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability;

(b) Persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality, free primary education and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live;

(c) Reasonable accommodation of the individual's requirements is provided;

(d) Persons with disabilities receive the support required, within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education;

(e) Effective individualised support measures are provided in environments that maximise academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion.

Criterion

Educators at all levels of the system are committed to the underlying philosophy of inclusive education and express a vision for inclusive education in legislation, regulations and policy documents at all levels of the education system.

Indicators

1. The principal/head teacher of the school consistently expresses a commitment to inclusive education.

2. Other senior members of the school leadership are committed to inclusive education.

3. The school's board/governing body is committed to inclusive education.

4. The national/regional/local bodies responsible for education are committed to inclusive education.

Placement

Most scholars of inclusive education either explicitly or implicitly state that inclusion refers to the placement of all students in regular schools and classrooms, regardless of their level of ability (Luciak & Biewer, 2011). In an early meta-analysis, 11 empirical studies carried out between 1975 and 1984 were analysed. …

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