Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are five myths about inclusive education that hamper the discussion and implementation of inclusive practices in education. 

• How can donors help to spread awareness dispelling these myths? 

• Read about growing racial disparities in special education. 

Education can provide opportunities for individuals to learn and realise their potential, giving them the tools to fully participate in all aspects of life—economic, social, political, and cultural. But such opportunities are not guaranteed for everyone, and unfortunately, this disparity in education is prevalent even from the early years of life.

UNESCO (PDF) defines inclusive education as a process that helps overcome barriers limiting the presence, participation, and achievement of learners. There are a number of misconceptions, or myths, about inclusive education, which continue to hamper the discussion and implementation of inclusive practices in education. However, arguments for inclusive education are well established and deeply rooted in the notions of equity and human rights.

  • Myth 1: Inclusion (Only) Concerns Learners with Disabilities
    Discrimination in education based on a child's disability has been a key issue addressed by inclusive education. However, over time, the issue has been expanded to include discrimination based on multiple factors, such as racial/ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, or religious/cultural/linguistic association.
  • Myth 2: Quality Inclusive Education Is Expensive
    In fact, there is evidence that the instructional cost of inclusive education is lower compared to that of segregated education.
  • Myth 3: Inclusion Jeopardizes Quality of Education for Other Students
    Research suggests (PDF) there are benefits of inclusive education for all students, in terms of academic, behavioural and social, and post-secondary and employment opportunities.
  • Myth 4: Inclusive Education Will Make Special Educators Redundant
    Successful inclusive education relies on specialist teachers working with class teachers in an integrated way.
  • Myth 5: Only Schools Are Responsible for Inclusion
    Inclusive education is not without its challenges, as it involves changes in attitude and efforts from society. However, the challenge is less about defending the need to accommodate learner differences and more about sharing a vision for inclusive education.

Read the full article about myths about inclusive education by Axelle Devaux at RAND.