Despite progress with regards to Universal Education and greater access to schooling, the learning gap between children in low/middle and high-income countries remains, with many children not being able to read at the end of 2nd grade, dropping-out soon after primary education, or graduating school while remaining illiterate.
It is not surprising that in many countries, while universal education is often assumed to be achieved, attendance and drop-out, and the related quality of education (as measured by learning outcomes) is not bearing witness to the fact that while access to education is progressing steadily, access to knowledge is not.
Inclusive Education is the means by which UNICEF addresses both access and quality, by responding to the needs of all children and youth through increased participation and reduction of exclusion, and the “conviction that it is the responsibility of the regular system to educate all children” (UNESCO, 2009). UNICEF defines quality education as the processes and services that allow every school to work for every child, and enable children to achieve their full potential.
Inclusive Education is responsive to student-needs and relevant to their life. Therefore, Inclusive Education is not about teaching the students that can cope with un-responsive educational system. Inclusive Education is the means by which teaching methods, curriculum, staff and pedagogy support and are adapted to the learning of ALL students, including those students who traditional systems have not been able to reach.
The UNICEF approach to Inclusive Education is informed by seven basic principles of human rights: universality and inalienability; indivisibility; interdependence and interrelatedness; equality and non-discrimination; participation and inclusion; empowerment; and accountability and respect for the rule of law. These principles need to be applied across all aspects of legislation and policy development, as well as all practical aspects related to education systems in order to reflect inclusive practices. Therefore, a right-based approach to Inclusive Education includes three sets of action-oriented measures, which are the responsibility of all stakeholders:
- Measures to fulfill the right to education;
- Measures to ensure respect for the right to education;
- Measures to protect the right to education.
This website is designed to provide information regarding the work that UNICEF CEE/CIS and its partners are involved in, particularly with regards to promoting and supporting Inclusive Education. The website contains a database of human and intellectual resources that have guided UNICEF CEE/CIS’s work on Inclusive Education, particularly with a focus on children with disabilities, and aims to provide information to all interested partners, in an easy and accessible format. This micro-site, managed by the UNICEF CEE/CIS Education Section, will further provide UNICEF and its partners with a forum in which to dialogue, share resources, collaborate and further promote the development of education systems that are inclusive of EACH AND EVERY Child.