What is Inclusive Education?
Children are born to be entitled with a different variety of rights to live a life as a person to the optimum dimension, without doubt one of which is the right to education. It’s believed that education is a basic human right and a parameter of a just society (UNESCO, 1994). Historically, inclusive education was not mainstreamed until the era of inclusive setting regular classes which is known to be the era of the placement of special or normal children in a regular classroom without discrimination to uphold the promise of providing quality and equity of educational opportunities for all. Prior to this newly practiced, disabled students were placed in a so-called isolated setting – special schools – that were designed especially for disabled students such as special education of deaf students, special education for blind students, ect.
“All means all.” or “No child left behind.” These renown statements obviously indicate that every learner matters equally. However, according to UNESCO (2021), learners are excluded from getting a proper access to a high quality of education in different aspects such as sex, gender orientation, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, nationality, economic condition or ability. To exemplify, roughly 40% of children do not have access to be educated in a comprehensible language, while 9 million of those who never set foot into schools are girls. In addition, the upsurge in migration and displacement has led to a 26% increase of immigrants and refugees globally, making their inclusion in national education systems an imperative. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, 20 percent of children and young people faced exclusion from education on a daily basis. The crisis has exacerbated the existing problems, particularly for marginalized and disadvantaged groups. Most importantly, children with disabilities continue to be disproportionately excluded from school.
Why is Inclusive Education Important?
The term special education sounds ideal by terminology, yet it creates segregation by practice and does not guarantee a success for the students who need special attention. Every child does not only deserve but also has the absolute right to be supported and welcomed to learn and grow in their early years by the community, parents, teachers and peers alike. Only when this can be achieved, then will inclusive education truly emerge. The placement of disabled students in the general classroom indicates the improvement of quality, student engagement, instructional time, and the maintenance of individual supports. Moreover, inclusive learning setting is instrumental in changing discriminatory attitudes. According to the Open Society Development (2019), as students of different backgrounds and abilities socialize, play and learn together, respect and understanding thus prosper.
by Englalin Ek