To what extent is inclusive education important? Does it bring a catastrophe for both groups of students?
By: Taufiq Effendi
“Each girl and boy is born free and equal in dignity and rights. Therefore, any forms of discrimination must end” (Mittler 2005, p. 22). The birth of babies with deviant characteristics is never a dream of their parents. No one ever hopes for being discriminated because of his or her flaws. Still, every handicapped person is important and possesses the same rights as their counterparts because philosophically the birth of a human being by nature, with or without unique feature, contributes to the total population of the whole society and is a new innate human resource, a social capital for the future (Osgood 2008, p. 81). This highlights the importance of involving citizens as a whole and therefore endorses that every individual, regardless of their unexpected characteristics, intrinsically contributes to a collective success of a country and education for all is the gate to make this happens. It is for this need that UNESCO in 1994 formulated a declaration that promotes inclusive education for all (Mitchell 2005, p. 4; Ainscow 2009, p. xi; Jha 2007, p. 33).
“Every child has a fundamental right to education, and must be given the opportunity to achieve and maintain an acceptable level of learning; every child has unique characteristics, interests, abilities and learning needs; educational systems should be designed and educational programs implemented to take into account the diversity of these characteristics and needs; those with special educational needs must have access to regular schools which should accommodate them within a child-centered pedagogy capable of meeting these needs.”
This international declaration held in Salamanca Spain has given a foundation for the implementation of inclusive education in the world. It really highlights that everyone is distinct and therefore education is expected to be able to house diverse learners. Although inclusive education might be considered uneasy, it is generally believed that inclusive education apparently brings about social and academic benefits for all students with and without disabilities.
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