1.1.4 Methodological Material_Chapter 2: "The challenges to inclusion in school settings"


According to the Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR), article 26, everyone has the right to education. It further states that “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups” (UDHR). In a rapidly developing world, marked by globalization and diversity, the issue of inclusion and education has become one of the focal points of research, innovation and practice. In fact, according to the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring report, equity and inclusion have become the heart of the 2030 Agenda. However, unequal distribution of resources is still prevalent, success in achieving these goals has thus far been limited and colored with challenges. Some of these challenges stem from common inequality characteristics, which include but are not limited to disability, ethnicity, language, migration, displacement, gender, and religion. Others are related to geographic and economic contexts and for example poverty, all of which have been enhanced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This chapter will look into inclusive education (IE), seen as a principle that supports and welcomes diversity amongst all learners (UNESCO 2017). It will focus on several of the main challenges that are prevalent in Europe, namely migration, poverty, giftedness, special needs and disability and the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to present and address some of these challenges, the terms ‘inclusion’ and ‘equity’ must be clearly defined by referring to the UNESCO Guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in education (UNESCO, 2017):

Inclusion is a process that helps overcome barriers limiting the presence, participation and achievement of learners. Equity is about ensuring fairness, where the education of all learners is seen as having equal importance.