This is how EENET interprets inclusive education, based on our knowledge of programmes and debates around the world.
But it’s important to remember that there is no universally agreed understanding of inclusive education. Our summary is open to additions and adjustments.
What is inclusive education
|Inclusive education is …||Inclusive education is not …|
|… a constantly evolving process of change and improvement within schools and the wider education system to make education more welcoming, learner-friendly, and beneficial for a wide range of people.||… a one-off project that can be delivered and completed within a short timeframe.|
|… about restructuring education cultures, policies and practices so that they can respond to a diverse range of learners – male and female; disabled and non-disabled; from different ethnic, language, religious or financial backgrounds; of different ages; and facing different health, migration, refugee or other vulnerability challenges.||… focused just on developing education for learners with disabilities within mainstream settings.|
|… about changing the education system so that it is flexible enough to accommodate any learner.||… about trying to change the learner so that he/she can fit more conveniently into an unchanged education system.|
|… an ongoing effort to identify and remove barriers that exclude learners within each unique situation.||… based on following a set formula of actions that can be used in any situation.|
|… about identifying and removing barriers to learners’ presence in (access to) education, participation in the learning process, and academic and social achievement.||… focused just on helping learners to gain access to schools or classrooms.|
|… focused on solving attitude, practice, policy, environmental and resource barriers.||… just about overcoming financial and environmental challenges.|
|… a process in which all stakeholders should participate (teachers, learners, parents, community members, government policy-makers, local leaders, NGOs, etc).||… a project that can be implemented solely by external experts or education officials.|
|… something that can happen outside the formal education system, as well as in formal school environments (inclusive education can happen in learning spaces that are non-formal, alternative, community-based, etc; with learners from young children through to elderly adults).||… just a process that happens in formal schools.|
|… an obligation that all governments must fulfil, if they have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.|