To be successful and sustainable, the realisation of inclusive education requires the support of all stakeholders working in the field of education. To support the cooperation of these stakeholders, the ‘Promoting positive attitudes and evidence-based policy for inclusive education’ (IE+) project has launched a new manual on co-production in English, Bulgarian, Dutch, Spanish, Greek and Portuguese .
The ‘Together We Learn Better’ IE+ Co-production manual centres on the idea of co-production, which largely refers to an inclusive working practice between experts by experience (users), support organisations, public authorities and, if relevant, families and other stakeholders. Traditional classroom settings are seen as too rigid with not much growth possibility in Europe, by working together these stakeholders can support the development of more flexible and inclusive learning environments.
The IE+ manual builds on the work of the IE+ awareness raising campaign. The campaign aimed to support teachers and parents of children with intellectual disabilities to together support the inclusion of learners with disabilities in the classroom.The campaign was formed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to improve communication between parents and teachers at a time when children have to study and learn remotely. Smooth communication between teachers, parents and students with disabilities will help them understand each other better. The campaign included its own ‘dream classroom’ competition, which invited teacher, parents and learners to portray their own dream inclusive classroom. The applicants of this competition are featured in the extended version of the manual in English.
The main message being sent out by the IE+ project has an optimistic vision where they believe the main goal to achieve inclusive education is very possible. Though, there are many obstacles that pose to be a hindrance in achieving these goals. Issues such as teacher-staff training regarding awareness of benefits of inclusive education. Furthermore, convincing providers to shift costs from segregated to inclusive education for persons with disabilities and reforming the current educational system are some of the crucial areas.
Funded partially by Erasmus+, the IE+ project is aimed at education providers and policy makers so as to equip them with the necessary information, tools and training to make informed and evidence-based decisions. The full realisation of the goals of this project alongside guiding a holistic policy framework, is also its implementation mainly focused on transitioning from a segregated to inclusive education setting.
The IE project with the launch of its new manual wishes to overcome the challenges in inclusive education for persons with disabilities. Although in Europe the current education systems provide grounds for co-production, there is a lot more scope to create a ‘true co-production’ environment. Following the various guidelines of this manual should direct individuals towards creating inclusive educational environments.