Education is a basic human right. If education is a human right, then all education shall be inclusive education. Providing inclusive education is paramount for the establishment of quality education for all those who seek to learn. Increased education is directly correlated to overall development. The Salamanca Statement cites inclusive education as, “recognition of the need to work towards ‘schools for all’ – institutions which include everybody, celebrate differences, support learning, and respond to individual needs’. Inclusive education works largely to ensure that people with disabilities are able to access high levels of education. Furthermore, the United Nations Convention of the Right of Persons with Disabilities describes people with disabilities as, “those who have long-term, physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others’. Because disabilities range across a large spectrum, inclusive education must take into account all of these factors.
Inclusive education also works to change societal norms regarding persons with disabilities. Its goal is to become a norm that persons with disabilities are able to access education and education facilities without obstacles or extra costs.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies has worked to create, The Model Policy for Inclusive ICTs in Education for Persons with Disabilities. This document works to develop a “model policy” for nations to utilize as a template. It also works to encourage countries to further implement the UNCRPD. It includes processes for policy development and reform to achieve smaller and wider goals of expanding education sectors within countries and regions. The initiative emphasizes inclusive ICTs within education for individuals who have disabilities. It states that no person shall be a victim to the exclusion of education at any level.
The policy also talks about funding opportunities for persons with disabilities and inclusive education. Often times, inclusive education can be costly. It states the following recommendations to ensure proper budgeting and funding:
-Decentralising the use of funds within the education system that allows flexibility in supporting the use of inclusive ICTs in education.
-Defining the roles and responsibilities of all main stakeholders at the national, regional and organizational levels in relation to the budget implementation strategy.
-Securing and effectively co-ordinating inclusive ICT-related funding from different ministerial budgets (information society, social affairs, health, education, etc.)
Overall, inclusive education is an important facet of inclusive sustainable development and shall constantly work to include marginalized groups.
Your point about the need for education to be accessible for people with disabilities is valid and definitely necessary, but what about others? Inclusive education is so much more than just disabled persons. Poor people, indigenous people, women, refugees, and other marginalized groups deserve access as well. In society, I feel we often forget about these groups when we talk about inclusivity because we assume they have access and can fight for themselves. Inclusivity means everyone. One for all and all for one.