Education as defined according g to the conclusion of the council of European Union (2017,p3) should be “available and accessible to all learners of all ages including those facing challenges, such as those with special needs or who have a disability, those originating from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, migrant backgrounds of geographically depressed areas or war-torn zones, regardless of sex, race or ethnic origin, religion of bullet disability or sexual orientation.”(MEDE, 2019)
Inclusive education means recognizing and valuing diversity in education settings and according to Mitchell (1999), inclusive education policies allows everyone to be treated equally and given the same status no matter the level of functioning or other personal characteristics. These policies also play a huge role at monitoring and empowering districts, schools, and teachers to work inclusively. (Ciyer, 2010)They also empower families so that they can make sure that children get everything they need in order for them to work effectively. (Project, 2019) Due to south Africa’s dark history of apartheid, each and every policy that was implemented had to make sure that human’s rights win.(Naicker, 2007) To also move from the separated education system of the apartheid era into a more diverse economically and socially empowered society.(Murungi, 2015)
Route to clarity inclusion policy- Local dimension
This policy advocates for all learners that they should get successful through having access to quality education. It also holds the notion, values, and principles of inclusive education into the realm of positively responding to diversity of all learners. According to this policy, individual’s differences are seen as opportunities to enhance learning (UNESCO,2005) by giving every learner the knowledge, skills, competence, and attribute they need for citizenship and employability. It also offers a diverse and universal definition of inclusive education. This policy is needed to bring together all educators, learners and families and community members who will create colleges and schools that are conducive for learning and giving all learners the education, they need. Inclusive education is seen as a way to ensure that all needs of learners are accommodated properly (Kiuppis, 2014) hence the policy is flexible enough to schools to transform existing pedagogical, personal and professional beliefs and to process and practices in a way that will have an effective responses to all learner’s needs and social realities’. This policy serves as a tool to ensure an equitable and accessible education through a learning space that is flexible to respond to how learners learn. To see to it that this policy works, education providers need to be empowered and informed so that they can make sure that the diversity of all learners is valued and supported.(MEDE, 2019)
It defines inclusive education as changing attitudes, behaviors, curricula, and environments to meet the needs of all children. And also, acknowledge and respect differences in children whether due to age, gender, ethnicity, language, class, disability, and HIV status.(Reiss, 1993) White paper 6 is more for children with a range of special needs in education but it prioritizes the education of children living with disabilities. This policy strongly argues that inclusive education demands accepting that all learners have learning needs, it also demands respecting diversity in learning capacities and admit that all children can learn if they are given the support they need. That is why it is needed so that there may be no discriminating against people living with disabilities. And that their intelligence and capabilities may not be reduced to nothing because of the disabilities they live with. While this policy is more for people living with disabilities it does not exclude able bodied people otherwise it would not be inclusion. With that said, this policy acknowledges that all children and youth can learn and also recognizing that different people have different learning needs that need to be valued so as to not make others feel less of a human. This policy is very much needed and of great importance especially for the protection of people living with disability rights as they are still the most violated and discriminated against especially at schools.(Murungi, 2015)
International Convention On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination
This convention reproves of apartheid and the separation of people of different races, it demands that countries prevent all Acts that might be discriminating other people. It calls for all countries to stand and fight against segregation. This international convention fights the dislike of other people because of their race and it promotes and encourages that people understand and tolerate each other’s different racial and national groups. (The Teaching Project,2019:14)
UN Convention On The Rights Of Persons Living With Disabilities
The convention has followed decades of work by the UN to change the way people see and approach people living with disabilities. Its aim is to change the dehumanizing culture of seeing people living disabilities as objects of charity. It also serves to remind that people living with disabilities have rights and they have the right to claim their rights and make their own decisions.(The Teaching Project,2019:15) It also stands to make sure that people living with disabilities are not excluded from schooling system. It strongly believes that the government should introduce laws and polices to support inclusive education and train teachers for working in inclusive schools with children living with disabilities.(UNICEF, 2017)
Education during and after the apartheid era
According to the knowledge I have, the education system was oppressive to some people and there was segregation in the schooling system. I believe not all people got the quality education they deserved, for example black people were forced to take Afrikaans as a compulsory subject while other home languages were not made compulsory for everyone. After the dark era people could now practice their rights. We now mix and attend school where we want, people choose what they want with regards to schooling. Even though things have not fully changed and be as we all wish but at least major change is visible the education system is inclusive of everyone no matter the race, nationality, or sexual orientations.
After the apartheid era policies of inclusive education were implemented so as to bring about equality to all learners regardless of the race, ethnicity. Religious beliefs and others. All these policies have a common thing which is to advocate for all people to get quality and equal education. The truth is that not all has been achieved. Discrimination and racism are still a concerning matter in schools and at our communities. To date people living with disabilities are treated as objects who cannot make decisions, at schools there is still unfair treatment towards them especially by own peers. The fact that they have their own schools screams exclusion to me, whatever happened to restructuring the education system so as to cater for ALL learners? There are still issues of children who cannot be admitted at schools because of certain reasons while there are policies of inclusive education that forbids the act of denying a child of education regardless of the reasons but at the same time I strongly believe there has been progress. I mean all learners have rights and can put them in use anytime when there is a need. For instance, in this day and age no one does subjects that they do not want, if there are compulsory then everyone takes them and not only a certain group of people. In a nutshell not all is achieved but progress means there is hope.
- Project, T. F. (2019). Inclusive Teaching and Learning For South Africa Unit 1. In T. F. Project, Inclusive Teaching and Learning For South Africa Unit 1 (p. 14). South Africa: British Council.
- Project, T. T. (2019). Inclusiv e Teaching and Learning For South Africa Unit 1. In T. T. Project, Inclusive Teaching and Learning For South Africa Unit 1 (p. 15). South Africa: British Council.
- Ciyer, A. 2010. Developing Inclusive Education Policies and Practices in Turkey: A Study of the Roles of UNESCO and Local Educators. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, (December): 258. http://gateway.library.qut.edu.au/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/822991792?accountid=13380%5Cnhttp://sf5mc5tj5v.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/ProQuest+Dissertations+%26+Theses+Glo.
- MEDE. 2019. A Policy on Inclusive Education in Schools – Route to Quality Inclusion. : 11–27. https://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MEDE/Documents/A Policy on Inclusive Education in Schools – Route to Quality Inclusion.pdf.
- Murungi, L.N. 2015. Inclusive basic education in South Africa: Issues in its conceptualisation and implementation. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 18(1): 3160–3195.
- Naicker, S. 2007. From Policy to Practice: A South-African Perspective on Implementing Inclusive Education Policy. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 3(1): 1–6.
- Reiss, A.J.J. (Ed). 1993. Understanding and . Washington: 18–20.
- UNICEF. 2017. Inclusive Education – Understanding Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. : 8. https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/IE_summary_accessible_220917_0.pdf.