Inclusive Education

This class we discussed Inclusive Education. In this post I will discuss what disability-inclusive education is, and the role that education play in social and economic development. I will also touch on the role of ICTs and how they impact inclusive education.Inclusive education is vital for international development because it can help lay the groundwork for any future programs. Education is a way to promote economic and social mobility, and this is especially important in the context of disability-inclusive education. If a child with disabilities is left behind because of non-inclusive education, then it can set them back for their entire future. Amartya Sen’s capability approach describes how limiting a person’s capabilities can diminish the choices they can make to live a life they value. Melanie Walker ties this approach to education exceptionally well in her paper “Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach and Education:”

Education can expand a child’s ability, for example, the ability to swim or the ability to add up numbers correctly. Secondly, education can expand the opportunities a child has. Acquiring basic numeracy skills makes it possible to develop more complex mathematical abilities and having success in mathematics in turn opens up a range of career possibilities. Learning fairness in working and playing with others makes it possible to develop more complex capabilities of deliberation, respect and empathy, all of which expands the opportunities open to a young person to choose a life he or she has reason to value. However, this then points to the kind of educational conditions (teaching, learning, curriculum and assessment), which foster and enable successful and confident learner identities.[1]

This idea is vital to understanding why education is necessary for inclusive sustainable development. Walker’s point about learning fairness in working and playing with others is especially important when discussing disability-inclusive education because a child with a disability should not be denied any right to the same education that another child would get. It is not enough just to teach a child with disabilities how to read, they should get the opportunity to be in the same classroom and learn what they wish to learn in order to lead a fulfilling life.

This is where Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) come in. ICTs work to improve the sharing of information with the integration of new technologies. Some of these technologies are screen readers, instant messaging; software that projects closed captioning ect… UNESCO published a model policy for Inclusive ICTS in Education for Persons with disabilities that stated, “The long-term vision behind the Inclusive ICTs in Education policy is that inclusive ICTs are used effectively in education to enable all learners – in particular those with disabilities – to learn according to their individual learning preferences and to promote the long-term inclusion into wider society of learners with disabilities, particularly through enhancing their social inclusion and employment opportunities.”[2] The growing development of ICTs that work towards universal design will work towards making the learning experience for ALL students (including persons with disabilities) better.