RESOURCE: Making Schools Inclusive: How Change Can Happen
Less than a decade ago, more than 100 million primary-school aged children still had never entered a classroom. Today, that number has dropped below 80 million, even though the world’s population has grown in that time. Clearly progress has been made. But children with disabilities are being left behind: one-third of the world’s children out of school are disabled. Many of the rest are excluded for other reasons that pose their own set of challenges: some are left behind because they are girls; or because they don’t speak the dominant language of their country; or because they experience discrimination on the basis of their ethnicity.
How can Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) help schools in their country be more inclusive of students who have commonly been excluded? Save the Children UK has released a new report that offers guidance: “Making Schools Inclusive: How Change Can Happen: Save the Children’s Experience” (PDF format, 4.14 Mb). This report describes successful projects, and the lessons learned, from countries as diverse as Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Bangladesh, China, Somalia, Brazil, Western Balkans, Mongolia, Nepal, Tajikistan, Serbia, India, and Morocco. Children with disabilities are targeted for many of these projects.
The report begins by describing both the conditions that prevent inclusive education and the conditions that can help make it possible. It also analyzes projects that have made it possible for linguistic minority students–and Deaf students–to obtain a bilingual education. Teacher training programs have helped encourage teachers to create more inclusive classrooms for children with disabilities and other students who have historically been excluded. Several countries have used Community-based Education Management Information Systems (C-EMIS) to draw upon the knowledge and motivation of local community members in making education more inclusive. Each chapter ends by discussing what lessons other communities in other countries may find helpful in implementing their own projects.
Advocates who tire of hearing governments complain there isn’t enough money will especially wish to read the 6th chapter on “Addressing financial barriers to inclusive education.” Funding issues are also discussed briefly throughout earlier chapters of Making Schools Inclusive (PDF format, 4.14 Mb).
The 8th chapter points readers to further materials and resources that may be helpful to them in advocating for more inclusive education in their countries.
The full 64-page report can be downloaded in PDF format (4.14 Mb) at http://www.eenet.org.uk/downloads/Making%20schools%20inclusive%20SCUK.pdf.
We Can Do learned of this report through an announcement posted on the EENET Eastern Africa email discussion group. The discussion group is devoted to issues relating to inclusive education in Eastern Africa.
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