Inclusive Education

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Dr. Jose P. Rizal

If truly a people dearly love
The tongue to them by heaven sent,
They’ll surely yearn for liberty
Like a bird above in the firmament.
Because by its language one can judge
A town, a barrio, and kingdom;
And like any other created thing
Every human being loves his freedom.
ONE who does not love his native tongue,
Is worse than putrid fish and beast;
AND like a truly precious thing
It therefore deserves to be cherished.
THE Tagalog language’s akin to Latin,
To English, Spanish, angelical tongue;
For God who knows how to look after us
This language He bestowed us upon.
As others, our language is the same
With alphabet and letters of its own,
It was lost because a storm did destroy
On the lake the
Bangka in years bygone.

“The child has a hundred languages, a hundred hands,
a hundred thoughts, a hundred ways of thinking, of playing, of speaking.”
---Loris Malaguzzi
More than few decades ago, the nations of the world, speaking through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, asserted that “everyone has a right to education.” This was made clear by the participants in the World Conference on Education for All, assembled in Jomtien, Thailand on March 5-9, 1990. They stated that education is a fundamental right for all people, women, and men of all ages throughout the world. They recognized the necessity to give to present and coming generations an expanded vision of, and a renewed commitment to, basic education to address the scale and complexity of the challenge.

In the 1994 Conference on Special Needs Education in Salamanca, Spain, the participants issued a statement that special schools alone can NEVER achieve the goal of Education for All. They adopted the policy on Inclusive Education or Schools for All to meet the individual needs of all students. This policy is the reaffirmation of the right to education of every individual as enshrined in the 1984 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a renewal of the pledge made by the world community at the 1990 World Conference on Education for All (Quijano, 1997). Globally, inclusive education is the recommended educational approach for the 21st century. It is widely accepted that inclusive education aggrandizes capabilities of students, promotes students’ rights. It likewise ensures that all students stay together in one classroom and community, regardless of their cultural background, personality attributes andstrengths and weaknesses in different areas. This educational approach is about ensuring that every student is welcome and that his unique learning needs and learning styles are met and given importance.

Inclusion is a basic right of every student to education. It is anchored on the philosophy that all students must receive a quality education and everything within the system.
Inclusion describes the process by which a school attempts to respond to all students as individuals by reconsidering its curricular organization and provision. Through this process, the school builds capacity to accept all students from the local community who wish to attend and, in doing, reduces the need to exclude students (Quijano, 1997).

Evidently, inclusive education promotes Education for All. Education for All means a quality education for everyone. And since the start of the EFA Movement, many countries have increased their efforts to meet the educational needs of children (UNESCO Bangkok, 2007). This has led to unprecedented mobilization of national leadership and the international community in support of basic education (UNESCO, 2007). However, even though much has been done, certain groups remain excluded- girls and women, people who are in poverty, people with disabilities and people whose mother tongue differs from the official or national language (UNESCO Bangkok, 2007).

Likewise, in Asian countries like the Philippines, which are characterized by rich ethnic,...
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