Inclusion and diversity in education policies: the rights to education without discrimination and capabilities, an analytical framework.
Gris, Sandrine (2016). 'Inclusion and diversity in education policies: the rights to education without discrimination and capabilities, an analytical framework.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.
This presentation aims to present an analytical framework used to evaluate the embodiment of the right to education without discrimination in the inclusive policies in education through the different path of students with disabilities through the prism of the capability approach. (Sen, 1992).
The term of inclusion, which gradually replaced that of integration or insertion in the public, scientific and political language (Ebersold, 2009), became in a few years the reference of the politics in favour of the rights of children and people with disabilities. The inclusive perspective has indeed enjoyed increasing international and national recognition (UN, 2006). The establishment of this recognition relates to initiatives taken in the early 1990s in North America that saw to make society more responsive to difference, especially through opposing school exclusion for children with disabilities. However, the foundation of the notion of inclusion exceeds widely questions regarding disabilities issues and the schooling of people with disabilities, as originally, the concept emphasized the intention to school them in an ordinary environment, although it now refers to a new bond with diversity. The intention behind inclusiveness sees in diversity, not a predicament to society, but rather a source of social well-being, economic development and an agent for the realization of human rights. In the name of the founding principles of law, it asserts that every individual, independently of its peculiarity, has the right and freedom to live according to his aspiration and that, as far as we supply the possibility, contributes to the individual and collective well being. Indeed, the notion of inclusion highlights the relationship with others: it asserts that every individual has it’s place in the social life and that that this place has to be neither granted or tolerated or even subjected to conditions.
Converting into action this enrolment, most of the school systems in the OECD countries adopted policies of school inclusion, which do try to translate this apprehension towards the situations of handicap as putting at stake the right and the liberties that they identify. The educational concept of inclusion is carried by a civic ambition claiming access to all individual rights. Designing diversity as a collective source of enrichment and a channel for excellence, this perspective carries an ecological approach to disability. From then on, the school as a place of education of disabled students is thought otherwise. Their schooling ultimately appears, fully inclusive and disability is conceived as an opportunity.
The inclusion based on the right to education without discrimination as a dynamic approach favouring openness to diverse learners mark therefore an important change of paradigm of equality: it is no longer just a goal regarding equal access and treatment, but equality in terms of recognition (of independence, liberty) and equality in terms of becoming (educational success). The inclusive perspective is based on three positions: ethics which requires recognizing diversity as legitimate, epistemological, that is the contextual dynamics and the role of the environment and interactions in the construction of knowledge, and policy, which refers to the adoption of an educational project based on the effectiveness of the right to education without discrimination and justice. This change is the very foundation of educational justice and the fight against discrimination: the look is centred on the student environment and the means implemented from their differentiated needs to develop their capabilities. The foundations of the inclusive approach are an effective consideration of diversity and revolve around the right to education without discrimination of needs and capabilities.
The systemic view of the right to education without discrimination, equality and social justice entails not only that inequalities would be identified, but also the processes and practices that generate them, their effects on students experiencing handicap in terms of capabilities. In an inclusive perspective, indicators for assessing public action and individual states can not therefore be limited to the performance of schools and students, to academic results in the acquisition of basic skills or diplomas, or to the accessibility of regular classes or resources. Besides, few countries have reliable data on the implementation of the right to education without discrimination. There is therefore a form of statistical void that, if it can meet the requirements of inclusive education can be a carrier to another level of analysis of social blindness on discrimination.
So it is necessary that we should develop quantitative and qualitative indicators to assess the effectiveness of the rights to education without discrimination in inclusion policies targeting all capabilities and that are not restricted to measure equality access to school entry or to the existence of specific support point, since a strong correlation between educational achievement and quality of education and supports for students. It should be taking into account the existence of individual heterogeneity, the multiple functions of the school, the continuity of the course, the well-being at school, obstacles, success factors and opportunities in academic courses, enhancement and support received, involvement in activities, opportunities for choice and action of students, the sense of belonging and social acceptability, cooperation, democratic participation in decisions as these are the general objectives of an inclusive approach.
We offer in this perspective an analytical framework to assess the real right to education without discrimination in school inclusion policies in accordance with capabilities to better understand how this right is reflected in the inclusion policies and how they articulate the needs and different paths of students with disabilities in the education system in Quebec.