Date: 29 May 2009

Education, Disability, and International Development

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Abstract

One of the biggest challenges facing education systems throughout the world is that of inclusion in education. In general, inclusion is about a philosophy of acceptance where all people in society are valued and treated with respect (Carrington and Robinson, 2004) and in education there is specific emphasis on the development of inclusive learning communities in which diversity is acknowledged and welcomed. In wealthier countries inclusion in education efforts tend to focus on the merger between well-resourced segregated forms of special schooling for learners with disabilities with equally well-resourced mainstream education facilities. In economically poorer countries, however, where a separate education system for people with disabilities has never been fully developed and where mainstream education lacks resources, efforts tend to focus on all learners who are unable to access education. Compounding the challenge to building inclusive education communities globally is the prevailing understanding of why some learners experience difficulties with learning. According to Howell (2006), this understanding is deeply rooted in a historical assumption that learners of all ages can be identified and classified through notions of what is normal and abnormal.