On the occasion of last week’s (12-13 November 2009) conference “Salamanca - 15 years on Inclusion – A school for all”, EASPD adopted its manifesto on Inclusive Education, stating that all children and adults have an equal right to high quality and appropriate education in an inclusive environment. This right requires a reorganisation of the education system and cannot be realised in the mainstream schools as they are today.
Franz Wolfmayr, President of EASPD, declared “we demand the development of a policy and legal framework to promote inclusive education, emphasising the importance of a strong cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary cooperation. This should be done in collaboration with all key stakeholders Furthermore, a positive approach towards inclusive education urgently needs to be developed at European level, as part of the EC and CoE strategies”.
The 300 representatives attending the event were actively engaged in debates on the key question of the conference ‘How can we include all children in mainstream schools, without losing the expertise available in special schools?’, and chose overwhelmingly to support EASPD’s manifesto.
Promotion of positive attitudes towards education at all levels
The manifesto clearly stresses the importance of a person-centred approach for each child/student, and highlights the necessity of setting up and further developing stronger support networks. Equal emphasis is placed by the manifesto on the promotion of positive attitudes towards inclusion at all levels of education, and the need to provide support for staff, management, parents and students on specific programmes.
In his closing words, the chair of EASPD’s Standing Committee on Education, Phil Madden, summarised: “Inclusive education is a fundamental component of a global commitment to achieving quality education for all. As a consequence, the education system reflects the society we want to live in. Inclusive education can only flourish in an inclusive society. An inclusive society needs inclusive education.”
The full manifesto will be available on www.easpd.eu by 3rd December 2009.