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Taking action to address exclusion and marginalization

By Jayne Pletser

Jayne PletserI arrived home from the 2015 Inclusive and supportive education congress (ISEC) in Lisbon, feeling energised with new knowledge and proud to have represented the IB at such an important forum for the discussion of all things “inclusion.” The congress concluded with the issuing of The Lisbon Educational Equity Statement, July 2015 (LEES, 2015).

It was fitting that the IB was represented at a congress that appealed “to all responsible for educational policies” and where participants were urged ‘to take action in order to encourage participation and success in education; to provide inclusive learning support; to respect and value differences; and to promote open communities, where successful learning is possible for all of our children and young people’ (LEES, 2015).

Aligned to LEE statement 2015, the IB is committed to ‘addressing all forms of exclusion and marginalization, disparities and inequalities in access, participation and learning outcomes … to ensure that the United Nations’ Education for All agenda really is about ‘all’’ (LEES, 2015) and promoting the development of inclusive schools. We have developed a range of resources to help IB World Schools with this challenge – schools can find them by following this path on the programme resource centre>Support areas>The IB continuum of international education>inclusive education>special educational needs.

It is encouraging that the efforts of the IB —to promote equity, access and participation—is in harmony with what I heard during the congress. And I appeal to all IB World Schools to strive to make this a reality in their own school communities.

The LEE statement affirmed the IB’s philosophy in ‘the rejection of the classification of students as “normal” and “special”, where teaching responds to individual differences and educating all children together results in a ‘welcoming, participating, just and non-discriminatory society’ (LEES, 2015). And in line with its mission statement, the IB is promoting inclusive schooling with the purpose of changing ‘attitudes to difference’ (LEES, 2015).

ISEC 2015 also offered its support for the Incheon DeclarationTowards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all—agreed at the World Education Forum, in May 2015, which sets out the international policy agenda for the next fifteen years.

I’m already looking forward to seeing how much progress we can make in IB World Schools by the time the next (and 9th) ISEC meeting takes place in London in 2020.

Jayne Pletser is the IB’s curriculum manager for inclusive education. Contact Jayne at [email protected].