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Content Section

Defining an inclusive education agenda: reflections around the 48th session of the International Conference on Education



“Inclusive education: the way of the future” was the challenging topic discussed at the 48 th session of the International Conference on Education (ICE), held in Geneva on 25–28 November 2008. The challenge was certainly accepted with determination and vigour by over 1,500 participants, including representatives from Ministries of Education, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and civil society. The intense, diverse and lively ICE discussions, as well as the conclusions and recommendations, testify to this. In fact, the discussions on the theme of the Conference began before the ICE, with many experts, educators and Ministers involved in preparatory activities aimed at informing the ICE discussions. These broad and diverse contributions proved highly informative, stimulating debate and providing valuable insights on moving the inclusive education agenda forward.

The purpose of this publication is to share these contributions and provide a comprehensive overview of the major issues, challenges and questions related to inclusive education. Benefiting from a rich diversity of fields, organizations and regions, these contributions encompass a broad range of perspectives and approaches.

This publication is organized in four main sections, followed by a content analysis of the messages sent to the Conference by over 120 Ministers of Education worldwide, and concluded by an article on inclusive education as the core of the Education for All (EFA) agenda. The four sections focus on ICE sub-themes—approaches, scope and content; public policies; systems, links and transitions; and learners and teachers—and are introduced by relevant extracts from the reference document of the Conference.