UNESCO’s Global Educational Monitoring (a true GEM!) Report 2020 was themed on Inclusion and Education. It now provides the new agenda for changes in education systems and schools towards inclusive education across the world. The impact of COVID-19 has been universal across the globe leading to globalised crisis in education that then impacts on specific groups to amplify inequalities. The GEM Report 2020 provides the roadmap into transformative change of education and schools for all.
You can check out the GEM report, its summary or an easy read version at this link https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2020/inclusion
Following Mel Ainscow’s talking points on Twitter I’ve extracted some GEMs from the report as a taster
Introduction ” .. the Report asks whether it really is necessary to seek justifications for inclusive education to be pursued. It notes that debating the benefits of inclusive education can be seen as tantamount to debating the benefits of the abolition of slavery, or indeed of apartheid.”
“A key barrier to inclusions the lack of belief that is possible and desirable.”
“While some countries are transitioning towards inclusion, segregation is still prevalent”
“Teachers , teaching materials and learning environments often ignore the benefits of embracing diversity”
“All over the world, discrimination is based on gender, remoteness, wealthdisability, ethnicity, language, migration, displacement, incarceration, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion and other beliefs and attitudes; the Covid-19 pandemic has added new layers of exclusion.”
“Responses to the Covid-19 crisis have not paid enough attention to inclusion of all learners”
“Education systems, step by step, are embracing inclusion in education irrespective of students’ ability, background and identity. Responding to diversity of needs in education is necessary to accomplish broad social inclusion objectives.”
“Statistical measurement of disability is beginning to catch up with the social model”
Using national definitions, the share of students in Europe deemed to have special education needs ranges from 1% in Sweden to 20% in Scotland. These variations reflect institutional rather than population differences.
Assumptions about what learners can or cannot do, based on assigned categories, should be replaced with understanding of every individual’s abilities and their experience of exclusion and inclusion.
Equity and inclusion will not be achieved without adequate funding reaching schools and students according to need
Curricula should adapt to learners’ diverse needs and aspire to an inclusive society
Textbooks can exclude by perpetuating stereotypes through omission and misrepresentation
Teachers need to be prepared to teach students with varied backgrounds and abilities
Inclusive teaching requires teachers to recognize the experiences and abilities of every student and to be open to diversity
Inclusive approaches to teaching connect classroom and life experiences in problem-solving activities and require teachers to make a range of options available to all, not some, students.
Teachers tend to have positive attitudes towards inclusion but also doubts about its feasibility
The Report highlights two key takeaways from UNCRPD General Comment No. 4
First … “inclusive education involves a process that contributes to the goal of social inclusion”
Secondly is that inclusive education is much broader in scope. It entails a “process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all children, youth and adults”
“Weak collaboration, cooperation and coordination of stakeholders within the system, across sectors, across government levels and between government and non-state actors can impede implementation of ambitious laws and policies”
“Well-resourced systems pursue a variety of disability inclusive education funding mechanisms”
Inclusive curricula are an exercise in democracy.
A deeper analysis to follow …