Welcome to e-include, the e-journal of Inclusion Europe.
Inclusive Education in Europe 2011 – After the CRPD
The convention of the United Nations·
·about the rights of persons with disabilities
says that all children and adults with disabilities
should go to school with other non-disabled students.
This is called inclusive education.
There are not many schools where children
with and without a disability can learn together.
It is very important that organisations of
people with intellectual disabilities and their families
·talk to governments to make inclusive education happen.
|The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), Article 24 on Inclusive Education has - generally speaking - not yet changed the education conditions of children, young people and adults with disabilities throughout Europe. But it is starting to do so in more and more regions and countries of Europe. The Convention is functioning like a driving force behind the movement of parents, self-advocates and teachers as well as schools.|
What is inclusive education?
Talking about Inclusive Education: What picture do we have in mind when we think of meeting the goal? What is it all about?
- “Early childhood care and education is inclusive of and accessible to children with disabilities, and provides transitions to inclusive primary education.
- Children with disabilities are welcomed in regular schools and classrooms in the public education system, and have the supports needed to complete free and compulsory primary education. Young people and adults with disabilities have the disability-related supports needed to participate in a full range of inclusive secondary, post-secondary, adult, literacy, vocational and continuing education programmes.
- Adults with disabilities have full access and necessary support to literacy programmes to achieve literacy on an equal basis with others.” (Better education for all, Global Report, page 90)
Situation in Europe
Up to now there is no country in Europe where this scenario is a reality or to say in other words, where a universal inclusive education system has been developed. But in several States Parties to the Convention or regions of states the Ministries of Education, nursery and school administrations and the institutions themselves are busy changing the old system of segregation. This was made possible because different organisations of people with disabilities and of parents as active promoters were influencing the decision makers on local, regional and national levels through their active lobbying work. Achieving the paradigm shift to an inclusive education system is even more successful in those countries where the different organisations of disabled people and parents, and teachers’ organisations representing schools, vocational and other education programmes are effectively networking and forming an alliance in their lobbying work.
The rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union has been another instrument for a push forward. The Spanish presidency in 2010 organised an important conference on inclusive education and Poland’s current presidency has decided that one of the main tasks is to tackle the issue of human rights. In this context the Warsaw conference on ‘Education for All’ took place at the end of June 2011. Disabled people’s organisations should make use of the rotating Presidency: after Poland the next presidencies will be held by Denmark, Cyprus and then Ireland.
We all know that States should do more than holding conferences that in reality have no strong impact on the process of implementation but nevertheless the outcome can and should be used in our lobbying work.
The Convention is the best chance we ever had to succeed - it is up to us to keep the process going!