Although there is currently no internationally agreed definition regarding what inclusive education is, the concept of ‘inclusion’ has been debated for many years. The concept was originally used in relation to disability. This was the case in the 1990s, when talking about combating the discrimination or segregation that learners with special educational needs (SEN) due to disability faced in gaining full access to and participation in mainstream educational provision. Inclusive education supposes a real change at both policy and practice levels regarding education. Learners are placed at the centre of a system that needs to be able to recognise, accept and respond to learner diversity. Inclusive education aims to respond to the principles of efficiency, equality and equity, where diversity is perceived as an asset. Learners also need to be prepared to engage in society, to access meaningful citizenship and to acknowledge the values of human rights, freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination.

Author Policy Department citizens rights constitutional Affairs