Why Inclusive Education Is for All Children, Everywhere

Earlier this month, the United Nations took a vital step in supporting quality inclusive education for all children. In adopting General Comment No. 4, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has clearly defined inclusive education as a fundamental human right of all persons, including persons with disabilities.

At the Open Society Foundations, this is what we have been pushing for through our grant making and our advocacy. We have, among other efforts, worked around the world to win recognition of children’s right to inclusive education, funded empirical research on barriers to education for young people with disabilities, supported networking and learning opportunities for teachers and parents, and convened stakeholders and activists to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

Inclusive education means different and diverse students learn side by side in the same classroom. It means qualified teaching assistants and specialists are available to help facilitate learning. It means that the curriculum being taught includes recognition of and contributions by marginalized and minority groups. Finally, it means meaningful parental involvement in transforming attitudes at home and in communities.

These things may sound basic. But, unfortunately, children around the world are excluded from schools because of disability, race, language, religion, gender, migration, or socioeconomic status. Such exclusion perpetuates discrimination that has lifelong effects. And, too often, efforts at reform fail and simply replicate these biases and reinforce marginalization.

All children have the right to grow, learn, and develop alongside their peers. Too many people still believe that inclusive education is only about children with disabilities, when in fact all children do better in inclusive classrooms. The UN Committee’s adoption of General Comment No. 4 now makes this explicit by declaring that inclusive education is “central to achieving high quality education for all learners at all levels, and for the development of inclusive, peaceful, and fair societies.” The charge for each and every one of us is to work towards fulfilling this promise.

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There is urgent need to make IE a constitutional issue in party states.

Education for all is very important, Cambodia started the Program from 2001, I have been start the Village mapping with children with disability on children drop out off school and exclusion children from education of girls and children with disability at rural areas of Kg Speu Province, from 2001 to this year, girls and children with disability still discrimination from Society, Schools and Health center and some institution not yet build Ram for Children with disability the class room and no accessibility (no elevator) to DC claim to high level of building such as from second or third floor. The Women and girls with disability still live with triple discrimination and violation from family and Society.

yes i conform that childresn of all regardless of races, disabilities, religion.... should learn in an inclusive environemnt, here in my country, ETHIOPIA, the Government has take some measures and some changes has brought, but the understanding here is that inclusive education is meant about the disabled children and even there is lack of awarness among the society, families kept /locked/ their disabled children at home.
The thing is a great forward and much works have to done, particularly in the society i am living and the rural areas lack awarness and there are a lot of barriers to this.

éducation inclusive doit se baser sur l’homogénéité ; des cours privés et intenses pour les éléves qui n'ont pas le niveau ,sinon vous créer des fractures au niveau de l'éducation et au niveau social et au niveau psychologique ...et finalement vous aurez des diplomés sans niveau réel ,c'est donc le cas du Maroc, Egypte...

Merci d'avoir pris le temps de répondre à cet article. Notre position est fondée sur l'opinion que le monde est diversifié, et non homogène. Si nos salles de classe ne sont pas inclusives, reflétant la diversité que les enfants rencontreront dans leurs communautés et lieux de travail, nous ne remplissons pas notre responsabilité de les aider à se préparer pour l'avenir. Les écoles où la diversité est encore un défi ont besoin de notre appui pour devenir plus fortes. Suivre et ségrégerdes enfants n’est une solution.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to this article. Our position reflects the view that the world is diverse. It is not based on homogeneity. If our classrooms are not inclusive, reflecting the diversity that children will meet in their communities and workplaces, we are not fulfilling our responsibility to help them prepare for the future. Schools where diversity is still a challenge need our support to become stronger. Tracking and segregating children is not the answer.

This is absolutely essential and must be taken forward to put all our children on the right footing towards a more equitable and just world.

Yes, but when you are teaching new versions of racism & sexism within your curriculum under the guise of your fake pursuits of equality you still marginalize & most certainly create a hostile atmosphere. You people are not liberal or progressive. You have no idea what those words even mean.

In many parts of South Asia, this problem is seen in the form of unequal distribution of resources for education. Although, many countries have adopted mandatory education for all children under a certain age, and education is provided free to children under a certain age (up to university degree in Sri Lanka) children do not receive equal kind of education, due to the urban-rural divide, schools in rural areas do not receive same resources that are received by schools in urban areas, which also receives support from various other means in addition to state assistance. This division and consequent unequal distribution of resources contribute to widen the 'have and have-not gap' as children of urban areas have access to better jobs or business opportunities while lower-level and lesser paid jobs are left for rural kids. I think it is very necessary that we must do out best to support this initiative of 'Inclusive Education, of the UN in order to make the 'Education for All' slogan a reality.

When students at the British school, Jakarta, Indonesia, began working with shanty dwelling children, and conceptualised a remarkable school for them, they also encountered a child called Karna, born deaf mute. His exclusion was a double bind: he was poor and challenged by disability, and the fatalism that accompanied it.

Today, through highly specific interventions by bsj students, Karna is not only reincluded in society, enrolled at a school for the deaf, but he's also the key player in a bracelet making micro business set up for him, and which affirms that our regard for him is based on his abilities. The bracelets are selling in both Indonesia and Australia. You can read about him on the Sekolah Bisa! Facebook page.

Inclusive education is very good it can tackle any problem related to race ,colour or religion

The best we can do is to ensure system of education where every child can develop her/his skills so that one day they can achieve their goals, become independent, able to sustain themselves and earn their own income

No person should ever be excluded from participating in such learning process and nobody should be told at the start that there is no way they could achieve their best

However, inclusive education cannot mean lowering the bar for those who are more gifted or stretching the standards so much that those naturally less gifted cannot cope

The worse seems mediocre system that makes everyone content but prepares nobody for real life and gives no support for achieving ones best

Dear Kate! Definitely good to hear the achievement what the Organisation have been pushing for. I feel there are more to do, especially on the Arab world. M
- father's right and it's blind support from friendly officials after divorce, just to make fathers pay less and win case to take children away from Mom, not to give extra money for education. To achieve goal, silent school stuff bullies and let children to be bullied, taken away their books before exam just to make them failed on exams. Same, if they want to support the father, some stuff is able to ask different question on exam, not that what was sent home to study. Moreover, if the mother ( like me) stand up against this, kids are punished silently the next day,just to make sure student keep their mouth closed. Father keep children in such an environment because this is his right and the father friendly officials keep it on. Then, if the mom (like me) doesn't let the kids study under such oppression and the father doesn't want to change, nobody want to help, because the business is that to push the mother away. So wat to choose because this "father right"?- Let go the children suffer or if nobody want to support the kids, keep them at home to protect them such emotional and usually phizical damage?- " Blind father right" in the way of happy education! What is the future?( I am a Hungarian mom of 4 kids divorced from Yemeni man in the UAE)

Thank you for this great article., please take a moment to look at our website on
We are Ghana's only inclusive school where all children regardless of ability or disability are in the same school and learning environments. We have strides to make but would love to have your support in any way possible. Thank you again for the insightful articles and references.

It would be great if the French state would take these responsibilities seriously. Despite criticism from UN bodies and European bodies, Roma children are systemically excluded from public schools despite French laws that require all children to be in school. When will this de-humanization stop? What is the end game for those who actively oppose education for Roma children and why is it even tolerated?

Forcing students of widely varying abilities into the same classroom is basically Harrison Bergeron. Both the top end of the distribution and the bottom end of the distribution will be wasting their time.

Inclusive Education promotes inclusive society

This is so important. Circle of Friends ~ The Path to Inclusion works with K-12 schools in California and across the US to provide opportunities for students of all abilities to become friends. Advisors connect students with special needs to students in the general education program. This break down barriers, builds leadership, empathy and self-advocacy in all children and reduces bullying on campus as schools become safer and more inclusive

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