An inclusive education not only responds and adapts to each learner’s needs, but is relevant to their society and respectful of culture – a two-way dignified process.
Inclusion is about putting the right to education into action by reaching out to all learners, respecting their diverse needs, abilities and characteristics and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the learning environment. It should guide education policies and practices, starting from the fact that education is a basic human right and the foundation for a more just and equal society.
Inclusion is both a principle and process, arising from a clear recognition that exclusion happens not only from education but also within education; it requires adapting and or transforming the education systems at large, notably the way in which schools and other learning settings adapt their learning and teaching practices to cater for all learners with respect to diversity. This requires attention to a wide range of interventions, among them the curriculum, the nature of teaching and the quality of the learning environment. It means schools and learning settings should not only be academically effective but also friendly, safe, clean and healthy and gender responsive.
Inclusion requires adopting a holistic approach to education from early childhood onwards to incorporate the learning concerns of marginalized and excluded groups and addresses the four pillar of learning (learning to know, to do, to live together and to be).
The World Conference on Special Needs Education in Salamanca, Spain (1994) was the major impetus to an inclusive education. The Conference proclaimed that “regular schools with (an) inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all…”.
SEN MENA the difinitive conference on Special education in the UAE and the Wider MENA region is scheduled to take place in February 2016 visit www.senmena.com for more information.