Lessons from the South: an International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) seminar on inclusive education. Agra, India, March 1-7 1998
The seminar was inspired and initiated by IDDC and its member organisations in response to the needs of its staff and partners working to promote inclusive education in isolated situations. The planning, financing and organising of the seminar was a collaborative effort by IDDC organisations and EENET.
To provide a forum for sharing experience and identifying common issues on inclusive education in countries with few economic resources and/or limited access to information.
Policy makers, teachers, teacher trainers, community development workers, managers of Community Based Rehabilitation programmes, parents and disabled people with a wide range of experience of inclusive education.
‘There isn’t an agenda – you have to develop it’ Key questions raised by participants in their application forms and in the ice-breaking discussion groups provided an initial framework for the sharing of experience which took place throughout the week. Themes included: policy; attitudes; teacher training; curriculum development; and monitoring and evaluation.
‘The medium is the message’ The methods used in the planning, facilitation and follow-up of the seminar were fundamentally linked to the aims and philosophy of inclusive education. The seminar became a micro-model of an inclusive society.
“The facilitators managed to create an atmosphere which was completely different from any other seminar I have ever attended.”
- IE need not be restricted by large class sizes, or a shortage of material resources;
- Attitudinal barriers to inclusion are far greater than economic difficulties;
- Specialist support should not be school-based;
- IE can provide an opportunity for school improvement;
- Disabled ex-pupils and parents have much to contribute to IE;.
- Inclusive education is part of a larger movement towards social inclusion.