Education is perhaps one of the most complementary fields to target for inclusivity. Due to the nature of learning, the various ways that individuals of all backgrounds learn best, and the importance of education in sustainable development, inclusive education is essential to achieving the SDGs and their commitments to persons with disabilities. Continue reading
Education plays an incredibly vital role in social and economic development. Human capital, one of the key components of economic growth, is created and strengthened through education and provides almost endless opportunities. As movements to include persons of disability are gaining traction and popularity around the world, it is essential to look to the root of human development in education to strengthen inclusivity.
Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities outlines the international legal framework regarding disability education. This article on the right to education emphasizes the rights to inclusive education and importantly prohibits any forms of disability-based discrimination in the education system. As discussed in class, students with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable individuals and have been historically excluded from educational opportunities at all levels. Continue reading
The 2011 Report on World Disability estimated that there are 93-150 million school-aged children with disabilities around the world, most of whom will not complete primary education. Inclusive education works to provide all people, especially persons with disabilities, the same choices and freedom to pursue their education. Inclusive education is an aspect of development that cannot be overlooked. Doing so would allow inequities to flourish in the community, hindering development. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used in inclusive education to help bridge the gap in accessibility by providing a learning environment that caters to the specific needs of the learner. Continue reading
The disability community represents over one billion people in world. Regardless of this large percentage, equal opportunities are not provided, especially amongst the education sector. Technological literacy is fundamental for social and digital inclusion, however many disabled learners to not have access to proper education opportunities to advance these skills. The UNESCO Model Policy for Inclusive ICTs in Education assists countries in the pursuits of creating an inclusive education framework based upon Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Inclusive ICTS for education aim to mainstream technologies to all individuals. This includes making computers, web browsers, mobile phones, and word processors accessible to learners with and without disabilities. This could be as easy as supplementing technological instructions with an online video with captioning. However, one must have a computer to access this, which is a further determinant for exclusive education.
Inclusive ICTS for learners depends on eliminating the digital divide. The digital divide refers to “the gap between those who can benefit from digital technology and those who cannot ”(2012, 46). Eliminating the digital divide requires public funding and subsidies and depends on a public-private partnerships.Considering the private sector plays a large role in the R&D stages, inclusivity and accessibility must be acknowledged and integrated. If certain companies do not assume inclusivity and accessibility in R&D stages, it will be nearly impossible to achieve inclusive education. Not only do Inclusive ICTs expand opportunities for marginalized communities, they can also expand market opportunities for private corporations, thus generating greater profits for Inclusive R&D.
Education is integral to social and economic development. Inclusive ICTs have the opportunity to give a voice to the voiceless, cultivate greater awareness of social, political, and environmental issues. Most importantly, ICTs can bring different people and cultures together.
Model Policy for Inclusive ICTS in Education for Persons with Disabilities. (2014). UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. France.
If we look at SDG 4, it focuses on “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Education, and more importantly equal access to quality education, is a fundamental element of development and plays a key role in advancing the development agenda. Paulo Freire, Brazilian instructor and philosopher, wrote a dissertation “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” where he addressed the importance of education for ensuring quality development for all populations. In his work, he focuses on providing basic education to grown adults who had never gone through the schooling process. The main goal that Freire sought was to not just teach his students fundamental education, but to teach them the ability to think critically. By thinking critically, it gives individuals the ability to not just learn material, but to find the answers to their questions themselves. The ability to think critically is fundamental because it gives individuals freedom. Once they started thinking for themselves, they quickly started to learn how unjust the societal system was and how oppressed they had been. Most of the individuals in his classes worked low tier minimum wage jobs and assumed that there was nothing else that they could do, that this lifestyle was the only thing available to them. However, once they started learning, they realized that learning and education were a significant part of what kept them in a loop of poverty and inequality. Freire takes a very marxist approach to education in that he believes that providing people with the ability to think critically will allow them to revolt against the unjust system that kept them uneducated. By becoming more educated, individuals can become a part of the conversation and advocate for their rights, furthering the development of poor and marginalized regions. In creating an education system that provides the oppressed with the necessary learning to become fully active citizens in society and fight for their rights, it needs to be inclusive, not just to adults and children, but to persons with disabilities, women, immigrants, and all other groups that do not have equal access to education. Education is a pillar to meeting the SDGs because it is the tool that individuals use to solve problems, great and small. It is a way to give marginalized people the freedom to develop themselves as they see fit, and fight against the system that oppresses them, instead of having others fight for their rights.
Inclusive education is an all-encompassing term that refers to the inclusive of people with physical and mental disabilities along with all other marginalized groups such as women to name one. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities specifically addresses the need for education to be inclusive to those person with disabilities. This group represents about 1 billion people within the population and not providing them with targeted, effective education that works with their needs is not only morally incorrect but economically unsound. It is important to note that not only programs that are only for people with disabilities are needed but also educational systems that integrate these persons with the general population of the school in order to reduce stigmas and allow for a truly inclusive education system. Sen also mentions the need for all persons to have access to quality education as a key factor in development. This means that a country with a higher percentage of education persons will further the development of that country and allow for increased economic opportunities in the future. Inclusive education should absolutely be talked about in conjunction with ICTs and closing the gap on the digital divide. Using innovative technologies to improve inclusivity in the classroom is already being done today and shows tremendous promise across the globe.
Education as a fundamental human right is a view that has gained popularity across the world in the late 20th and 21st centuries. Education for Persons with Disabilities remains a problem that is pervasive in most societies. According to UNESCO, “Persons with disabilities are more likely to be out of school or to leave school before completing primary or secondary education.” This is a global phenomenon that has inextricable impacts on the capacity of persons with disabilities to support themselves economically, navigate access channels to health services, and generally contribute to the social fabrics of their societies.
In response to this challenge of inclusive education, the CRPD includes the provisions that states are to guarantee equal access to education (primary, secondary, and vocational) to persons with disabilities in Article 24 of the convention. In the legally binding nature of the CRPD, ratifying states are obligated not only to guarantee this equality in law, but implement concrete assistance programs that establish support systems for PWDs who require addition support in their learning. This includes specially trained teachers who are capable of teaching PWDs that may have specific needs, the use of educational materials that are accessible to blind and deaf PWDs, and to ensure that quality schools are physically accessible to PWDs.
The providing of inclusive education to PWDs is not only essential to the capacity development and economic independence of PWDS, but is also crucial to reducing the stigmatization that PWDs face in many societies. As more and more PWDs are able to access education, the stigma that paints persons with disabilities as individuals that do not contribute to the larger society as a whole can erode.
The establishment of ICTs for PWDs is one major avenue being utilized to cater education opportunities to the needs of PWDs. Fully online degree programs for higher education, remote participation in classroom activities, and the distribution of reading materials over the internet have led to fundamentally more access to education for PWDs in developed and middle income countries. In lower income countries, the need to establish available cyberinfrastucture is crucial to the ability to implement inclusive ICTs for education.
Inclusive Education has many different aspects to consider. Physical and mental disabilities are important to remember in education accessibility as they carry a great ability to isolate people within education systems or even keep them out in many cases. In order to address this, the United Nations created the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or CRPD, under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict). The CRPD was created to develop a ‘model policy document to be used as a template to assist UNESCO member states in promoting the effective use of inclusive ICTs in education for learners with disabilities,’ according to the Model Policy for Inclusive ICTs in Education for Persons with Disabilities. This model policy document serves two purposes: to act as a blueprint for short, mid and long-term action as well as to be an audit tool for member states to check their progress in relation to inclusive education.
The specifics of inclusive education can involve anything from personalized class lessons to screen readers or wheelchair ramps. The inclusion of both physical and mental disabilities has been considered under the CRPD which has led to a non-discriminatory approach regarding the intersectionalities between disabilities, human rights, gender equality, and access to services. This has been done through reasonable accommodations for different disabilities and an outlook for how to improve based on current technologies and capabilities. While there are still areas lacking in inclusive education, many areas have made huge strides to reduce the stigma around this group of people and allow for further educational advancements. In order to further this, individual needs must be met, ability for lifelong learning must see increased focus, and education for those with disabilities must see a systems approach in order to normalize this population’s education.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the main international legal framework on human rights that clearly highlights the rights of children with disabilities to education. More importantly, article 24, on the right to education, emphasizes the rights to inclusive education and prohibits disability-based discrimination in education. Learners with disabilities at all levels of education are one of the most vulnerable communities and exposed to exclusion from educational opportunities. Their vulnerability extents beyond just their enrolment but to issues of quality of education received, retention and progression throughout the school system. The World Report on Disability estimates that there are between 93 to 150 million school-aged children with disabilities worldwide. Therefore, it is important to recognize the importance of international cooperation in including children with disabilities in programming as well as in its role in support of national governments. The inclusion of children with disabilities is a moral issue, as well as an economic and social issue.
Education is the essential part of human existence and a key to power. It’s the core principle in solving challenges such as demographic change, global competition, technological development and other various areas. Human development, a concept evolved by Amartya Sen, is a means in increasing beyond just income or GDP. It also impacts the economic, social and political components. It impacts scientific innovations and introduction of modern technology. It increases opportunities for employment, and resilience to economic shocks .
Therefore, a nation with a more educated population has greater chance in innovations and creating more job opportunities. Therefore, the economic and social cost of exclusion are high. Leaving a huge proportion out of the labor market just negatively impacts the long term productivity of the economy. However, investing in inclusive education, enrolment of children with disabilities is a smart investment and carries high returns. It allows to increase labor potential, impacts progress, reduces poverty, inequality and gender inequality.
Inclusive ICT can be a valuable and important instrument for learners with disabilities who are vulnerable to the digital divide and exclusion from educational opportunities.
Some aspects of inclusive ICTs for education include: mainstream technologies that are readily available in the commercial marketplace to all individuals, assistive technologies that take in consideration the difficulties in accessing and using the mainstream technologies, compatibility between assistive technology products, and accessing digital learning content and instructional delivery systems.
By incorporating inclusive ICT, it can reduce the barriers such as social exclusion and access to information through the use of virtual organization and collabotory . There are many actors involved in creating an inclusive ICT environment besides children with disabilities, but also those that are involved in developing, implementing and evaluating policy objectives and initiatives such as the parents, teachers, leaders, and other education professions and the IT professionals. ICT is a cross-sectorial sector.
 Riboud, Michelle. 2016. Investing in inclusive human development. Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies 8 (2): 168-200.