UNESCO Education Expert Mel Ainscow Recommends 6 Actions to Ensure All Children Have Similar Rights and Opportunities

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In a new interview with CMRubinWorld, Mel Ainscow CBE says inclusion should not be seen as a separate policy but should be viewed as a principle that informs all policies.

Of the 57 million children worldwide estimated to still be missing out on school, more than 40% are thought to be disabled. Mel Ainscow, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Manchester, UK, has worked with UNESCO since 1994 to fight against marginalization and other barriers preventing an inclusive, educational system. In a new interview with C.M. Rubin, Founder of CMRubinWorld, Ainscow reflects on the progress that has been made on achieving this global goal over the last 25 years, and the work that still needs to be done.

Students should not be forced to choose between attending a mainstream, comprehensive school and attending a school that supports the characteristics of a diverse range of learners. Ainscow insists inclusion “should be viewed as a principle that informs all policies, guided by six related actions.” These actions include a clear definition of what is meant by inclusion in education, supporting teachers in promoting inclusion, designing curriculum with all learners in mind and involving communities to promote inclusion. The six actions must make a clear commitment to inclusion, says Ainscow, “emphasizing the benefits for parents and children, and for the community at large.”

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Mel Ainscow is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Manchester, UK. A long-term consultant to UNESCO, he is currently working on international efforts to promote inclusion and equity globally. A distinctive feature of his approach is the emphasis he places on carrying out research with schools and education systems to promote improvements. Between 2007-2011, Ainscow led the Greater Manchester Challenge, a project that involved a partnership between national government, ten local authorities, and 1,150 schools. Between 2014 and 2017, he headed up Schools Challenge Cymru, the Welsh Government’s flagship program to accelerate improvement across the country’s schools, focusing in particular on the progress of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. In the Queen’s 2012 New Year Donors list, Ainscow was made a Commander of the British Empire for his services to education.

CMRubinWorld’s award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, brings together distinguished thought leaders in education and innovation from around the world to explore the key learning issues faced by most nations. The series has become a highly visible platform for global discourse on 21st century learning, offering a diverse range of innovative ideas which are presented by the series founder, C. M. Rubin, together with the world’s leading thinkers.

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David Wine

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