Inclusive education : achieving education for all by including those with disabilities and special education needs

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The Dakar Framework for Action adopted a “World Declaration on Education for All (EFA)” in 2000, which affirmed the notion of education as a fundamental right and established the new millennium goal to provide every girl and boy with primary school education by 2015. EFA also clearly identified Inclusive Education as one of the key strategies to address issues of marginalization and exclusion. The fundamental principle of the EFA is that all children should have the opportunity to learn. The fundamental principle of Inclusive Education is that all children should have the opportunity to learn-together.

This literature review examines Inclusive Education practice, current trends, gaps, and implications for future research relating to specific inputs, processes, outcomes and contexts at macro-, meso-, and micro-levels. Chapter one introduces the concept of Inclusive Education and its complexities in terms of goals and target populations. Chapters two and three focus on innovative Inclusive Education practices and trends at the grass-roots micro-level of schools and communities in the North and South. Chapter four provides an overview of meso-level systems in support of practice, highlighting economic issues of funding, resource allocation, and efficiency/effectiveness strategies related to Inclusive Education practice. Chapter five provides a summary of macro-level national and international policy and legislation that affect micro -level school practices and meso-level organizational systems. The literature makes clear that these three levels and their dimensions of inputs, process, outcomes, and external factors are interrelated and context dependent. Taken as a whole, this review provides fertile ground for policy/practice implications to address next steps. Several critical policy/practice issues and their implications concerning Inclusive Education are outlined under the areas of decentralization; finance and resource allocation; access and participation; pre-service teacher training and in-service professional development; universal human rights and Inclusive Education policy/legislation; school restructuring and whole-school reform; identification and placement; assessment, accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness; and building capacity and sustainability through nongovernmental organizations, community, and multi-sector participation.

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