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Inclusive Education in Action Case Studies

This article appeared in the European Agency for Inclusive Education in Action (IEA)

The Inclusive Education in Action (IEA) website presents a collection of important and interesting case studies from around the world. These case studies can be used as a resource for international policy-makers who are working to develop equity and equal opportunities within education systems globally.

One example is the 1+5+N: Using a Three-Level Resource Room System to Promote Inclusive Education (Learning in Mainstream Classrooms) in China case study, which comes from the Shuangliu District of Sichuan province in China. It outlines the National Special Education Reform Programme, created in 2014 by China’s Minister of Education. This programme was developed to improve the quality of inclusive education, as placing more learners with special educational needs in mainstream education is a priority in China’s educational reform. The case study describes one of the National Programme’s sub-projects, a collaboration between the University of Padua, Sichuan Normal University, Shuangliu District Special Education Center and local schools. It aims to help sampled schools to develop inclusive education through a Three-Level Resource Room System.

The South African Inclusive Education Policy case study provides an insight into the status of implementation of inclusive education across South Africa. The national policy document White Paper 6, Special Education Needs: Building an Inclusive Education System (WP6) was introduced in 2001 to establish a system where learners with disabilities can learn alongside their peers with appropriate supports. WP6 proposed a 20-year trajectory to implement inclusive education across South Africa. Although in 2019 progress has not been achieved as envisioned in 2001, some elements have been achieved to encourage inclusive education systems. In 2015, a report of the Department of Basic Education acknowledged the high number of children with disabilities who were still out-of-school (estimated at approximately 590,000). However, the report also listed important achievements. The case study describes the impact of WP6 on inclusive education systems in South Africa.

The case studies available on the IEA website come from different regions of the world. They describe diverse policy approaches taken to develop inclusive education systems, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4: ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all by 2030. The case studies also share the focus of UNESCO’s International Forum on Inclusion and Equity in Education, held in Cali, Colombia in September 2019 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Special Needs Education in Salamanca 1994. 

Case studies are added regularly to the IEA website. There is an open call for case studies on the site. New case studies from all regions and countries presenting material on key policy development in the move towards inclusive education are welcomed for consideration.