EENET’s most important mission is to encourage the sharing of experiences and ideas.
In the second issue of EENET’s newsletter we focused on the International Disability and Development Consortium’s (IDDC) International Seminar on Inclusive Education, which took place in Agra, India in March 1998.
“This seminar has helped me to see the positive aspects of globalisation …. instead of exploiting the poor, we have developed strategies to address poverty.” Evelina Tabares – Philippines
There were 60 participants from 24 countries in South, South-East and Central Asia, Africa, Middle East, Central America and Europe. EENET’s coordinator and steering group members were centrally involved in the planning, organisation and follow-up of the seminar.
This seminar provided EENET and IDDC with an opportunity to address some major concerns about international seminars. A strict applications procedure ensured that participants were actively involved in inclusive education, and, in some cases, had direct personal experience of disability. The majority of participants were from the south and the agenda was participant-led. The facilitation team, which consisted of 5 people representing different countries, gender, disability and experience, had the task of enabling participants to share their experience and ‘own’ the seminar.
EENET was established in mid-1997 with support from several international NGOs, all of whom are members of IDDC, and its main mission is to promote the sharing of information on inclusive education between southern countries and from south to north.
Large class sizes, few material resources and limited access to information were some of the obstacles faced by practitioners, but there were many valuable lessons to be learned from the excellent examples of policy and practice in inclusive education. The industrialised countries of the North have much to learn from this experience, especially in the current climate of diminishing resources. Policy development, teacher training and community support for inclusive education were some of the themes, which formed the basis of the agenda and which are featured here, with examples from South Africa, Laos, Vietnam and Swaziland. Although the discussions at Agra focused primarily on the inclusion of disabled children in educational settings, EENET’s mission is to share information on all aspects of inclusion. This includes issues such as race, gender, ethnicity and poverty.
In our Newsletter, issue number 2, we introduced a letters page and we would like readers to write to us about their experience so that we can share ideas and resources more effectively.
EENET’s web site has grown considerably since the first issue of Enabling Education was published, so we have included a guide to its contents. If you do not have access to computers and the internet, but would like copies of a particular document, please write and ask. The back page features useful publications, as in the first issue. Please keep your newsletters so that you can build up a reference list of useful resources. Braille copies of Enabling Education can be obtained from the EENET office and audio cassettes will be available soon. We would welcome suggestions about making the newsletter more accessible to a wider range of interested readers.
EENET . Centre for Educational Needs . School of Education . The University of Manchester . Oxford Road . Manchester . M13 9PL . UK . Tel: +44 (0)161 275 3711 / 3510 . Fax: +44 (0)161 275 3548 . Email: firstname.lastname@example.org