One nation globalisation and inclusive education

Year: 2008

Author: Spandagou, Ilektra, Armstrong, Derrick, Armstrong, Ann

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper explores the development of inclusive education and questions what the future of inclusion is in the context of one nation globalisation. Inclusive education as a late modernity reform project is exemplified in the call for 'Education for All'. Despite the simplicity of its message, inclusion is highly contestable. We argue in this paper that the global pressures towards common policy agendas result form state reformation within the context of economic globalisation. However, it is also argued that global trends are significantly mediated through the contested social relations within local contexts. In other words, what inclusion is, what an inclusive education system looks like and who is benefited from inclusion are questions that cannot be answered outside the context of a new world order.

Inclusion is contested within and across educational systems and its implementation is problematic both in the countries of the North and of the South. Some of these contradictions are discussed in this paper providing an analysis of national and international policy. In the countries of the North inclusion takes different forms, for example encompassing an ever expanding understanding of 'diversity' or as a new form of special education. Despite the differences in the ways that inclusion is defined, its effectiveness is closely related to managing students by minimising disruption in regular classrooms and by regulating 'failure' within the education systems. The second part of the paper discusses the significance of inclusive education for the countries of the South. It is argued that post-colonial social identities, economical development and local 'voices' are contested in the introduction of policies supported and financed by international organisations.

This paper recognises the contested nature of inclusion in the context of one nation globalisation and it sees the future of inclusion as no different from its radical beginnings; inclusion continues to be an opportunity in education and society in general to identify and challenge discrimination and exclusion at an international, national and local level.