Inclusive Education

Inclusive development looks at ensuring that all groups in society, everyone that is affected, are included in the development processes and programs. In a similar way, inclusive education is focused on the right of education for all children including those that are sometimes left out or marginalized, for example children with disabilities. As the UNICEF document on Inclusive Education Initiatives states, it is the responsibility of all schools to be able to accommodate any and all students. Whether it is one single student or a group of students that need special attention or different physical accommodations, these things cannot be denied. Schools cannot turn students away and they cannot actively neglect someone an education simply because they do not have the necessary resources or do not want to invest the extra time and money into helping these individuals be able to actively participate in their education. While this idea of inclusive education is becoming very widespread, still many educational institutions are not accessible to all and some even actively ignore their responsibility to do so. What makes inclusive education initiatives so challenging is that they require the successful implementation of various elements such as, strong political and government commitment, awareness at all levels of the rights of children with disabilities, awareness of the benefits of inclusive education for all students, pre-service and in-service teacher training, whole school approach with specialist support, constant advocacy for the full employment of disabled children’s rights and needs, and a couple more crucial elements (UNICEF). These elements have to be implemented together in order for the necessary impact to be made and for concrete change to occur.

Some countries more than others have made significant progress towards achieving inclusive education, but several successful initiatives have been driven by motivated individuals with disabilities that choose to fight for their rights and bring awareness to the issue. For example, there is the university student in Brunei who stressed the importance of self-advocacy and fought to get the necessary resources established in the university to ensure that he was able to successfully complete his studies. Setbacks and shortcomings can lead to frustration and feelings of isolation for students with disabilities who are unable to keep up with their studies due to all the barriers they face. The student mentions the importance of learning to overcome that frustration but others should also take it upon themselves to help prevent that frustration. That is why it is so important that university or school staff, teachers, and peers work together to help other students fit in and maneuver the system, so that not all the weight of the problem is placed solely on the student with disabilities.

As schools work to create inclusive educational environments in today’s modern world, the ICTs are increasingly becoming key players towards this goal. With the incredibly sophisticate technologies that we have today, there is much that can be done technologically to ensure that education is made available to all. That is why we now have the Model Policy for Inclusive ICTs in Education for PWDs that focuses on finding ways to use ICTs to support the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of PWDs. In order to guarantee that all students have the same opportunities and access, technology will have to play a role. While it is not the sole solution, it is an important one for many aspects of inclusive education.