Reinterpreting inclusive education; A study on Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Year: 2016

Author: Spandagou, Ilektra

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN, 2006) puts forward a very specific proclamation of what inclusive education is and through its reporting mechanisms requires regular reporting on compliance. Currently more than 90 Initial Reports are available publicly online and more than 40 of those have been through the complete process resulting in the Committee’s Concluding Observations. This paper presents an analysis of Initial Reports and their corresponding Concluding Observations in terms of Article 24 aiming to identify how inclusive education is constructed in the Initial Reports, how these constructions are justified and what actions are reported in order to realise them. In addition to identifying the different reinterpretations of inclusive education, the paper discusses how the Concluding Observations provide a mechanism of redirecting these constructions and the ways that they re-establish the boundaries of inclusive education. Two categorisations are used in this content analysis. The first one derives from the Draft General Comment no. 4 Article 24 The right to inclusive education (Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2015). This categorisation sees inclusion as a) a fundamental human right, b) a means of realisation to rights, c) a principle, and d) a process. The second categorisation is adapted from (A.C. Armstrong, D. Armstrong, Spandagou, 2010) and explores inclusive education in terms of a) for whom, b) into what, c) for what purpose and d) how. The themes emerging from the preliminary analysis of the Initial Reports indicate that contested and contradictory understandings of inclusive education are presented, with a number of practices reported that establish or expand educational segregation. While the Concluding Observations provide a framework of redirecting these reinterpretations, these also impose specific boundaries to what inclusive education could be in accordance to Article 24. References Armstrong, A. C., Armstrong, D., & Spandagou, I. (2010). Inclusive education: International policy & practice. London, UK: Sage.Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. (2015). Draft General Comment no. 4 Article 24 The right to inclusive education. Available at United Nations. (2006). Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and optional protocol. New York: United Nations.