Diane Richler, II Past President, gave a presentation at the EASPD conference entitled Inclusive teaching programmes: Let’s develop it together in Salzburg, Austria on 22-23 October 2015.
Diane had 3 main messages for delegates:
- There is an internationally recognised right to inclusive education
- Inclusive education isn’t just good for students who have disabilities; it leads to better education for all
- We need to fundamentally transform existing systems to support inclusion
Diane has been promoting inclusive education for more than 40 years.
In her presentation Diane pointed out
From a rights perspective, the CRPD machinery is a powerful tool in the promotion of inclusive education. We have just gained another weapon, and that is the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations last month. Whereas the former Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) focused on achieving universal primary education, the reality was that people with disabilities were ignored in the formulation of the MDGs and in their monitoring. The new Sustainable development Goals make frequent reference to persons with disabilities and the new education goal is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
The new SDGs reinforce inclusive education as a development goal which is essential for eliminating poverty and disparities both between and within countries. Although there are no penalties for states which do not comply with the SDGs they are powerful influencers of the actions of institutions such as the UN agencies – UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, funders such as the World Bank, EU and national agencies for international cooperation, and indirectly on Ministries of Education.