Inclusive Education

During the seventh session of our class we discussed Inclusive Education in regards to people with disabilities. The class discussion touched upon the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Model Policy for Inclusive Education for Persons with Disabilities, as well as the importance of an inclusive education.

The UNCRDP is a document by the United Nations that outlines the rights people with disabilities are entitled to. The document comprises of 50 articles each having a specific subject, for the purpose of inclusive education our class focused on Article 24 – Education. Article 24 highlights the rights of a person with disabilities to receive an education, that is nondiscriminatory, and reinforces the state’s commitment to people with disabilities as well as to the ensure inclusive education and lifelong learning. Article 24 delves deeper into education by emphasizing the need for inclusive education in order to reaffirm that the quality of the education is not diminished because the person or group has some form of disability. Additionally, Article 24 discusses the state’s obligation the facilitate learning in Braille or other means and forms of communication, as well as appropriately training teachers and hire teachers with disabilities to ensure that those who are qualified are able to teach sign language, Braille or other forms of alternative communication, while also contributing to the seamless integration of inclusive education for people with disabilities.

Within the article Model Policy for Inclusive Education for Persons with Disabilities, (which was a class reading) we discussed how this article highlights the importance of an inclusive education while building off of UNCRDP Article 24. Model Policy for Inclusive Education for Persons with Disabilities discusses how the incorporation of inclusive ICTs such as screen readers is essential to people with disabilities because it has the potential to “widen participation and increase educational opportunities”, (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, European Agency, and G3ict., Page 22) which brings me to my next point about the importance of education.

In class I commented that education and in particular higher education allows individuals to not only build their knowledge base but also their social network. Thus, forming a duality, and when one combines or more importantly has the opportunity to combine an increase in knowledge and expanding social linkages (i.e. network) it creates more opportunities, and specifically more choices. The concept of having more choices strengthens Sen’s argument, because when one has the ability to make more choices on their own accord it means access, opportunity and more importantly freedom. Sen spoke about capability depriving factors such as poverty and a lack of education, and it is not coincidence that these factors intersect. Another factor that is capability depriving that I have come to notice is that of stigma, especially in regards to people with disabilities. We see how stigmas take root in our society, and the detriment it poses on the quality of life of marginalized communities. People with disabilities deserve fundamental respect and validation that their lives and the quality of life they lead matter, creating a more inclusive society that promotes equity will fundamentally contribute to the progression of development, and lives better lived.