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Including the Excluded – ISEC July 24-28 2000

1022 delegates gathered in Manchester from 98 countries for the fifth International Special Education Congress. Conference themes included: From rights to policy; Listening to different voices; Positive outcomes; Developing practice, Changing roles.


“A thousand congresses took place at ISEC – each delegate came with a different set of experiences and a different starting point.”
Mel Ainscow

The congress organisers made a big effort to ensure maximum participation and inclusion. Many delegates from the South had their fees and accommodation paid to enable them to attend. Most keynote sessions allowed time at the end for participants to form small groups for discussion and for feedback at the end. A daily newsletter was produced which summarised the previous day’s discussions. Here we can only give you a taste of the keynote presentations…

“Special education is exclusionary and oppressive. There is no place for special education in an inclusive society. I have come to dance on the grave of special education.”
Mike Oliver

Mike Oliver talked of the inevitable changes taking place in the relationship between education and the economy. There are 3 possible responses to the changes ahead:

Burying their head in the sand and being swept away by the tide;

Rubber ducks
Linguistic adjusters – bobbing around on the tide of history, changing their words, but not their actions;

Riding the waves to a better place, enjoying the excitement. The incoming tide is a welcome challenge, not a threat.

“Inclusive schooling is a continuing movement against educational, and ultimately, social exclusion”.
Roger Slee

Alfredo Artiles talked about the over representation of ethnic/linguistic minority students in special education in USA, especially those with mild learning disabilities – the biggest group. Roger Slee, from Australia, mentioned the systematic link between poverty, ethnicity and disability which has been little researched.

Nithi Muthukrishna, from South Africa, described the process of moving away from a focus on learners with special needs to the concept of barriers to learning and participation. In South Africa those barriers include: poverty, family violence, alcoholism, substance abuse, gangsterism, over-age learners and an urgent need for HIV/AIDS awareness in schools.

“Inclusion is a necessity, not an alternative.”
Anupam Ahuja

Lessons from Geese – This 2 minute video was shown at the end of Anupam’s key note session. It is an inspirational video which demonstrates the main principles of inclusion.

For this and other videos please visit

Inclusive Technology (IT) was one of the sponsors of ISEC 2000. They provided the conference website and a cybercafe during the congress. There are over 200 conference papers on the web site and IT is preparing the ISEC 2000 CD, which will have an ISBN number. IT will soon be disseminating the entire contents of EENET’s website on a CD. This is in order to help those who do not have access to the internet.

For further information contact:

Inclusive Technology Ltd
Gatehead Business Park
Delph New Road
Delph OL3 5BX

Tel: +44 (0)1457 819790
Fax: +44 (0)1457 919799