Unit II: Concept and Meaning of Inclusive Education:

2.1  Meaning and defining inclusion

2.2  Principles of inclusion

2.3  Integration vs. Inclusive education

2.4  Barriers and facilitators of inclusive education

2.5  Framework, Acts, Policy provisions for inclusive education










2.1         Meaning and defining inclusion


Inclusion is an educational practice whereby students with special needs are fully integrated into the general education classrooms at a school. You may have heard the term “mainstreaming”, which is defined by a special needs child who visits the general class for certain subjects, but is not fully integrated. That is the main difference between inclusion and mainstreaming.

Inclusion philosophy rests on the idea that every individual, regardless of his/her disabilities, has the right to be incorporated fully into the fabric of society. Research conducted in inclusive classrooms show benefits to both traditional and special needs students.

Defining inclusion

A.     Placement definition – inclusion as the placement of students with disabilities or in need of special support in general education classrooms

o   Integration or inclusion of students with SEN;

o   Students with and without SEN go to the same school or classroom.

B.     Specified individualised definition – inclusion as meeting the social and academic needs of students with disabilities or in need of special support

o   Students with SEN can actively take part in the lessons;

o   Students with SEN get (individualised) support in mainstream classrooms (to achieve their learning goals);

o   Students with SEN benefit from instruction in mainstream classrooms;

o   Students with SEN are respected/valued.

C.     General individualised definition – inclusion as meeting the social and academic needs of all students

o   All students actively take part in the lessons;

o   All students receive (individualised) support (to achieve their learning goals);

o   All students benefit from instruction in regular classrooms.

It has been argued that inclusive education is not only about addressing issues of input, such as access, and those related to processes such as teacher training, but that it involves a shift in underlying values and beliefs held across the system. It requires that all children, including children with disabilities, not only have access to schooling within their own community, but that they are provided with appropriate learning opportunities to achieve their full potential. Its approach is underpinned by an understanding that all children should have equivalent and systematic learning opportunities in a wide range of school and additional educational settings, despite the differences that might exist.

 Inclusive education provides a fundamentally different pedagogical approach to one rooted in deviance or difference. In other words, it stresses:

·      the open learning potential of each student rather than a hierarchy of cognitive skills;

·      reform of the curriculum and a cross cutting pedagogy rather than a need to focus on student deficiencies;

·      active participation of students in the learning process rather than an emphasis on specialized discipline knowledge as key to teachers expertise;

·      a common curriculum for all, based upon differentiated and/or individualized instruction, rather than an alternative curriculum being developed for low achievers;

·      teachers who include rather than exclude.

UNESCO’s actions in promoting inclusive approaches in education will aim at: 

·      Forging a holistic approach to education which ensures that the concerns of marginalized  and excluded groups are incorporated in all education activities, and cooperating to reduce wasteful repetition and fragmentation; 

·      Developing capacities for policymaking and system management in support of diverse strategies towards inclusive education; and 

·      Bringing forward the concerns of groups who are currently marginalized and excluded.

Benefits of Inclusion

·      Schools respond to individual differences and therefore benefit all children

·      Schools change attitudes towards diversity by educating all children together

·      Less costly alternative to special segregated schools

·      No additional costs to parents

·      Reduction of social welfare costs and future dependence

·      Higher achievement for children than in segregated settings

·      60% children with special educational needs can be educated with no adaptions and 80-90% can be

·      educated in regular schools with minor adaptations (e.g. teaching strategy training, child-to-child support  and environmental adaption)

·      Disabled child is less stigmatized, more socially included

·      Inclusive education is cost-effective

·      Costs can be kept to a minimum by drawing upon local resources, people and facilities

·      Children with disabilities have access to a wider curriculum than that which is available in special schools.



2.2         Principles of inclusion



The Principles of Inclusion promote equity, access, opportunity and the rights of children and students with disability in education and care and contribute to reducing discrimination against them2. They provide early childhood education and care centres (early childhood) and schools, as well as early childhood and school sectors, with broad and consistent criteria for inclusion to assess their progress against.

The delivery of a programme of learning can unintentionally present a range of barriers to learning or assessment that affect some students more than others and can result in students being unfairly disadvantaged.

Inclusive practice aims to minimise or remove these barriers and support the success of all students whilst ensuring that academic standards are not compromised. An inclusive environment for learning anticipates the varied needs of learners and aims to ensure that all students have equal access to educational opportunities through inclusive design.

Purpose of the Principles

·       promote equity, access, opportunity and the rights of children and students with disability in education and care

·       contribute to reducing discrimination against children and students with disability where they are treated less fairly than their peers

·       provide early childhood education and care centres (early childhood) and schools with broad and consistent criteria for inclusion so that they assess their progress towards inclusion

·       provide early childhood and school sectors with broad and consistent criteria to assess their progress towards inclusion.

Access: Access/accessibility refers to giving equitable access to everyone regardless of human ability and experience. It refers to how organizations encompass and celebrate the characteristics and talents that each individual brings to the organization. It is about representation for all.

By consciously providing access to all opportunities, we will be able to harness the incredible pool of talent that its members bring to the organization. This will eliminate real and perceived barriers and cultivate, develop, and advance the talent pipeline.

Equity: Equity refers to an approach that ensures that everyone has access to the same opportunities. It recognizes that advantages and barriers exist and that, as a result, everyone does not start from the same place. It is a process that begins by acknowledging that unequal starting place and works to correct and address the imbalance. Equity ensures that all people have the opportunity to grow, contribute, and develop, regardless of their identity. Basically, it is the fair and just treatment of all members of a community. It requires commitment and deliberate attention to strategic priorities, resources, respect, and civility, with ongoing action and assessment of progress toward achieving specified goals.

Relevance: All over the world there is a new trend toward development of inclusive education because of its relevance for the total educational development of children with special needs. Inclusive education is practice teaching children in regular classrooms with non handicapped children to the fullest extent possible; such children may have orthopedic, intellectual, emotional, visual difficulties or handicaps associated with hearing. Inclusive education has been of increasing interest in the past decades. Research showing that many handicapped students learns better in regular than in special classes; racial imbalance existed in special education classes.

Participation: The principle of participation and inclusion aims to engage persons with disabilities in the wider society and in making decisions that will affect them, encouraging them to be active in their own lives and within the community. Inclusion is a two-way process: persons who have no disabilities should be open to the participation of persons with disabilities. 

Accessibility: The principle of accessibility aims to dismantle the barriers that hinder the enjoyment of rights by persons with disabilities. The issue concerns not just physical access to places, but also access to information, technologies, such as the Internet, communication, and economic and social life. The provision of ramps, sufficiently large and unblocked corridors and doors, the placement of door handles, the availability of information in Braille and easy-to-read formats, the use of sign interpretation/interpreters, and the availability of assistance and support can ensure that a person with a disability has access to a workplace, a place of entertainment, a voting booth, transport, a court of law, etc. Without access to information or the ability to move freely, other rights of persons with disabilities are also restricted.

Empowerment: People are empowered when they are able to claim their rights and to shape the decisions, policies, rules and conditions that affect their lives. An approach to development that is grounded in human rights treats everyone as agents of their own development. Empowerment requires opening safe spaces that enable all people, including those who have been traditionally marginalized, to have a place at the table, and participate in the shaping of the decisions, policies, rules and conditions that affect their lives.




2.3         Integration vs. Inclusive education




Segregate means separate, separate someone from something or one thing from another. In this way, segregationism separates, excludes and separates groups such as women, racial minorities, religious minorities and people with disabilities from rest of the population with arguments of a sexual, racial, religious, or ideological nature.

Regarding tourism, it would be to refer to travel, experiences only for some groups . We disagree with this idea , since we do not want to separate anyone. If not, on the contrary, being able to travel anyone regardless of their abilities.



The idea of ​​”normality” is maintained, but it is considered that people who manage to adapt will be considered part of society . The more rehabilitated and “normal” she is, the more integrated she will be. Regarding the values ​​of Volem València, starting from the idea that we do not consider that someone is normal and another is not , we also try to avoid this concept.



·      Breaks down barriers and negative attitudes; facilitates social integration and cohesion in communities. The involvement of parents and the local community further strengthens this process.

·      The child is able to socialize with other children as part of a school community

·      Reduced costs for transportation and institutional provision

·      Reduced administrative costs associated   with   having   special and  regular education

·      Some research states that children in integrated or inclusive settings have higher achievement levels than those in segregated settings.


·      Inability to accommodate the learning needs of all

·      Pressure on limited resources

·      Requires assistance by parents, volunteers or older children



This term is sometimes confused with integration. However, inclusion goes a bit further . Inclusion is associated with the ability of people to accept the other and live in harmony accepting differences . If the same society promotes inclusive environments, barriers do not exist and all people are included, since they have the same opportunities.

Inclusion does not focus on the disability or diagnosis of the person. It focuses on your capabilities. It is based on the principles of fairness and cooperation . Inclusion accepts everyone as they are, recognizing each person’s individual characteristics without trying to bring them closer to a “normalized” model of being, thinking and acting. Heterogeneity is understood as normal. Therefore, the recognition and appreciation of diversity as a human right is proposed.



·      Schools respond to individual differences and therefore benefit all children

·      Schools change attitudes towards diversity by educating all children together

·      Less costly alternative to special segregated schools

·      No additional costs to parents

·      Reduction of social welfare costs and future dependence

·      Higher achievement for children than in segregated settings

·      60% children with special educational needs can be educated with no adaptions and 80-90% can be

·      educated in regular schools with minor adaptations (e.g. teaching strategy training, child-to-child support  and environmental adaption)

·      Disabled child is less stigmatized, more socially included

·      Inclusive education is cost-effective

·      Costs can be kept to a minimum by drawing upon local resources, people and facilities

·      Children with disabilities have access to a wider curriculum than that which is available in special schools.


·      Teachers‘ skills, schools resources, high pupil-to-teacher ratios

·      Costs of adapting curricula to allow

·      Cost of supplying teaching aids and material to improve participation and communication of children with disabilities

·      Cost of adapting school infrastructure

·      Requires assistance by parents, volunteers or older children

·      Investment in specially trained mobile resource teachers


Inclusion is the process of educating the children in a way that it benefits all the children as it entails the clear participation of all the children in the classroom. Integration, on the other hand, is the process in which children with special needs are absorbed into the mainstream education system. Furthermore, the aim of the inclusion is not to fit the children to the mainstream education but to improve the overall participation of the students in the classroom activities. However, integration process aims to fit in the students with special needs to the mainstream education.

Inclusion focuses on all students in the classroom whereas integration focuses on the students with special needs in the classroom. In order to assist the education procedure of the students, in inclusion, the school system undergoes change while in integration, it is the subject matter which undergoes change according to the needs of the students with special needs.




2.4         Barriers and facilitators of inclusive education


Inclusion is the process whereby every person (irrespective of age, disability, gender, religion, sexual preference or nationality) who wishes to, can access and participate fully in all aspects of an activity or service in the same way as any other member of the community.

Inclusion addresses an individual’s:

·      dignity (basic human rights)

·      opportunities (equal employment and attitudes)

·      accommodation (accessibility, assistive devices). Inclusion is about society changing to accommodate difference, and to combat discrimination.

Barriers to inclusion

There are three sets of barriers that currently limit the opportunity for people with disabilities to participate in society on equal terms with non-disabled people.

Systemic barriers are policies, practices or procedures that result in some people receiving unequal access or being excluded. Example: eligibility criteria that effectively exclude people based on a disability, such as requiring a job applicant to have a driver’s license even though there are ways to reorganize a job to use another form of transportation.

Systemic barriers to learning are barriers created by the education system itself. Most often children with disabilities bear the most severe consequences of an inadequate, under resourced education system.

Ø   People with disabilities are excluded from events by not considering their needs at the event planning stage.

Ø   Not being aware of the different types of accommodations an employee might need when returning to work after an absence due to a disability.

Ø   No leadership or accountability to address issues related to people with disabilities.

Ø   Hiring policies not encouraging applications from people with disabilities.

Ø   Procedures that may affect some employees, such as use of cleaning products that can cause allergic reactions.

Ø   Inappropriate language of learning and teaching

Ø   Long waiting lists at special schools

Ø   Insufficient training of educators to manage diversity in their

Ø   classrooms  Lack of funds for assistive devices

Ø   Lack of teaching assistants

Ø   Long delays in assessment of learners

Societal barriers

Ø FEAR: This is the most common social barrier, and obstacle of inclusion. We are often afraid of people we see as different, so we choose not to interact with them. Or perhaps we don’t want to be invasive or offensive.

Ø AWKWARDNESS: Sometimes we just don’t know what to say. We see only our differences, and don’t have the right words to connect. People with differing abilities are often used to being treated differently or sometimes even ignored. Thus, they may have expectations of not being included, and  behavior may appear aloof because of feeling marginalized.

Ø DIFFICULTY: It is much easier to look away than to watch someone struggle.

Ø DISINTEREST: Maybe you have nobody in your social circle with a disability. It’s not your thing. It’s not your problem. You’re busy. You have your own issues and agenda.

Ø IGNORANCE : We are human and we learn by example from other humans. Sometimes  we are taught that a person who is different, or perhaps has a deformity or a behavior that we don't understand, is not capable of normal relationships. Parents often think they should protect their children from seeing individuals who are suffering or are different. If we can't see past the disability, it's just not easy to watch.

Pedagogical barriers

The term pedagogy refers to the transmission of information and skills from a teacher/instructor to the learner, whereas the term andragogy is the process for providing procedures and resources to help learners acquire the information and skills.

As a teacher/instructor it is important to understand how adults learn which includes understanding learners’ needs, motivation for learning, cycle of learning, characteristics of learning styles, and the sequence in which learning needs to occur to be effective as a learner.  When a teacher/instructor doesn’t have this knowledge, or fails to demonstrate it, it is considered a pedagogical barrier.

Ø  The instructor has failed to understand the relevancy of meeting the trainees’ needs, lacks the knowledge of “how adults learn”, and hasn’t assessed the need for social interaction between learners.

Ø  The instructor hasn’t understood the necessary learning orientation factors that are required for learning.

Ø  Training methods have failed to address varying learning styles to optimize all learners’ opportunity to learn nor has the instructor recognized that adult learners are relevancy-oriented in learning.

Ø  The instructor has not provided suitable strategies for providing feedback nor understood the relevance of a learners’ prior knowledge and experiences in learning.


Linda A. Heyne, professor at Ithaca College, wrote an article outlining the four most common barriers to an inclusive environment.

Attitudes – In a school system where there isn’t a lot of understanding and knowledge regarding Down syndrome, teachers may fear and resist change.

Administration – Similar to the reason above, if administrators don’t understand the philosophy of inclusion or the capabilities of children with Down syndrome, it may be difficult to get the structure and procedure in place for an inclusive classroom.

Architectural issues – Does the school have handicap access in the whole school? What about other features like elevators or braille? Many schools have one area that is handicap accessible but the whole school is not designed for someone with disabilities.

Programs – General curriculum activities and projects may be suitable (or easily changed) for students with disabilities.

The rest of this guide will discuss tips, ideas, and advice for teachers using the inclusive philosophy in their classroom. The vast majority of research supports this ideology as the most effective way to educate students with Down syndrome.

IDEA 2004 states…

“Almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by having high expectations for such children and ensuring their access to the general education curriculum in the regular classroom, to the maximum extent possible, in order to meet developmental goals and, to the maximum extent possible, the challenging expectations that have been established for all children; and (ii) be prepared to lead productive and independent adult lives…..”


Facilitators of inclusive education

What is an inclusion facilitator—and how can these special educators help school teams ensure authentically inclusive learning environments? In their visionary guidebook Reimagining Special Education, Jenna Rufo and Julie Causton define an inclusion facilitator as:

Inclusion facilitators can provide critical support as schools reopen after long closures and students return with greater variations in their academic and social-emotional skills. In today’s post, excerpted and adapted from Reimagining Special Education, you’ll learn about three different types of inclusion facilitators, how they benefit schools, and which types of facilitation work best in different settings and situations.

Building-level inclusion facilitator

A building-level facilitator provides ongoing professional development through coaching. A flexible schedule allows this inclusion facilitator to provide on-the-spot coaching and support to teachers and assist in defusing behavioral situations throughout the school. The building-level facilitator may co-plan lessons with staff and even deliver lessons jointly when teachers are trying new techniques. The facilitator also participates in grade-level planning teams to discuss upcoming content and adaptations to the curriculum, and they are involved in the school’s leadership team or data team, too.

When to use this model:

When not to use this model:

Student-specific inclusion facilitator

In this approach, the inclusion facilitator is assigned to students included in general education who have the most significant disabilities. This might include students with intellectual disabilities, autism, or multiple disabilities, or those who require intensive emotional or behavioral supports. In a student-specific system, the inclusion facilitator becomes highly knowledgeable about the support needs of a small group of students. The facilitator works closely with the general education teachers, support personnel, specialty staff, and families of these children. When adopting this model, the inclusion facilitator is a coordinator, ensuring that a coordinated approach to service delivery is implemented.

When to use this model:

When not to use this model:

Content-specific inclusion facilitator

As students advance through grades and are exposed to more specialized content, their special educators must be knowledgeable of that material. A content-specific inclusion facilitator is assigned to one or two departments in a school. The content-specific facilitator works with teachers in those departments to adapt the academic content and make it accessible for students with significant needs.

When to use this model:

When not to use this model:



2.5         Framework, Acts, Policy provisions for inclusive education


The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was launched to achieve the goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education. This adopts a ZERO rejection policy and uses an approach of converging various existing schemes and programmes.

It covers the following components under education for children with disability–

·      Early detection and identification

·      Functional and formal assessment

·      Educational placement

·      Aids and appliances

·      Support services

·      Teacher training

·      Resource support

·      Individual Educational Plan (IEP)

·      Parental training and community mobilisation

·      Planning and management ¾ Strengthening of special schools

·      Removal of architectural barriers

·      Research

·      Monitoring and evaluation

·      Girls with disability.

Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS), 2009                                                                             

The Scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) has been launched from the year 2009-10. This Scheme replaces the earlier scheme of Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) and provides assistance for the inclusive education of the disabled children in classes IX-XII. This scheme now subsumed under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) from 2013. The States/UTs are also in the process of subsuming under RMSA as RMSA subsumed Scheme.


To enabled all students with disabilities, to pursue further four years of secondary schooling after completing eight years of elementary schooling in an inclusive and enabling environment.


The scheme covers all children studying at the secondary stage in Government, local body and Government-aided schools, with one or more disabilities as defined under the Persons with Disabilities Act (1995) and the National Trust Act (1999) in the class IX to XII, namely blindness, low vision, leprosy cured, hearing impairment, locomotory disabilities, mental retardation, mental illness, autism, and cerebral palsy and may eventually cover speech impairment, learning disabilities, etc. Girls with the disabilities receive special focus to help them gain access to secondary schools, as also to information and guidance for developing their potential. Setting up of Model inclusive schools in every State is envisaged under the scheme.

RMSA – Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, 2009

The successful implementation of this mission was from 2009-2010. However, it focuses to provide conditions for efficient growth, development, and equity for all students. This scheme also includes the following:

·      Multidimensional research,

·      Technical consulting,

·      Various implementations and

·      Funding support.


Core Purpose of RMSA

The core purpose and long term aim of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) is as follows:

·      To improve the overall quality of education imparted at the secondary level. And this is possible by through making all secondary schools conform to all the norms that the authority prescribes to.

·      To remove barriers of gender, socio-economic and disability. These barriers are more like social prejudice which only interfere with the process of widening one’s mindset.

·      Further, universal access to secondary level education by 2017 (which is the XII Five Year Plan).

·      Rather ambitious goals of universal retention of students by the year 2020.