Implementing Inclusive Education

A Commonwealth Guide to Implementing Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

image of Implementing Inclusive Education
Inclusion in education is a process of enabling all children to learn and participate effectively within mainstream school systems, without segregation. It is about shifting the focus from altering disabled people to fit into society to transforming society, and the world, by changing attitudes, removing barriers and providing the right support.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires the development of an inclusive education system for all. This revised and expanded second edition of Implementing Inclusive Education examines the adoption of the Convention and provides examples, both through illustrated case studies and on the accompanying DVDs, of how inclusive education systems for all children have been established in pockets throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.

The message is clear: it can be done. The task is now to implement inclusive education worldwide.




Great efforts are being made to get all primary age children into school and to complete primary education as part of the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All (EFA). This has not included disabled children, especially in less developed countries. The first barrier arises from long-held ideas that locate the problem in the child and their impairment, rather than recognising that it is society’s own response to the impairment that needs to change. Negative attitudes based on traditional thinking still act as a big social barrier. In many parts of the developed North, segregation in separate special schools of pupils with special educational needs or poor attempts at integration have left disabled children and students not achieving their potential. The alternative is to engage in the transformational process in schools that is the development of inclusive education. Too often this approach has been generalised so that the transformations necessary to include disabled children and students with the full range of impairments, and to meet their access and support needs, have not been given sufficient weight. There are a growing number of examples that do include disabled children and students in education. However, the fundamental transformative thinking that is necessary to complete this process is often missing.


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