In September 2015, countries committed to a renewed framework for sustainable development by adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Agenda recognizes the actions that individuals, communities and governments need to take to secure the well-being of both people and the planet, by promoting social and human development, environmental protection, economic prosperity, and equity. Inclusive quality
education is both a goal in itself (Sustainable Development Goal 4) and a means for attaining all other SDGs.
Why was this guide developed?
As countries seek to strengthen their national educational systems, finding ways of including all learners and ensuring that each individual has an equal opportunity for educational progress remain major challenges.
This guide is intended to support countries in embedding inclusion and equity in educational policy. The ultimate objective is to create system-wide change for overcoming barriers to quality educational access, participation, learning processes and outcomes, and to ensure that all learners are valued and engaged equally.
For whom is the guide intended?
The guide is intended for use by key government education policy-makers, working with key stakeholders such as teachers and other educators, students, families, and community representatives. The guide could also assist development partners in facilitating a policy review process. However, governments would need to be at the helm of such a process for system-wide and sustainable change.
What does the guide include?
The guide is built around an assessment framework that can serve to:
- Review how well equity and inclusion currently figure in existing policies
- Decide which actions are needed to improve policies and their implementation towards equitable and inclusive education systems
- Monitor progress as actions are taken.
The guide includes evidence that informs the assessment framework, examples of initiatives that are contributing to more inclusive and equitable education systems in different parts of the world, and recommendations for further reading.
How was the guide developed?
The guide draws on international research and on best practice related to equity and inclusion in education systems. It was developed with the advice and support of a group of international experts, including policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, teacher educators, curriculum
developers and representatives of various international agencies. It is built upon the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) series of Training Tools for Curriculum Development, ‘Reaching Out to All Learners: A Resource Pack for Supporting Inclusive Education’, and on updates to the 2009 UNESCO Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education.
Where can the guide be used?
This guide is relevant to all countries and educational systems. While targeting improvements in formal education, it recognizes that education occurs in many contexts – in formal, non-formal and informal settings – and across one’s lifetime. The guide can either be used independently or it can be incorporated into other policy review processes and tools to ensure attention to equity and inclusion.