The inclusive school is not only a right for children and adolescents with disabilities but a great opportunity for all students because it guarantees that they grow and are trained in an educational system that considers that diversity is a source of enrichment. According to specialists, the main impact lies in a more humane society.
So much so, that inclusion is one of the axes of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and is becoming an increasingly valued variable by many parents when looking for a school. “Lately I am learning about many cases of young families who, when they go to an interview to choose a school, find out if it is an inclusive institution, if there are students with disabilities,” says Gabriela Santuccione, coordinator of Grupo Article 24, a group of organizations specialized in the subject. “They ask it because they consider it an added value, because they want their children to be educated in diversity, to value themselves and the other,” she details.
Next, we share the benefits highlighted by specialists, teachers and parents of students with and without disabilities:
- It is a proposal focused on values. Greater tolerance, patience, solidarity and empathy are some of the values that children, teachers, parents and specialists highlight.
- Lays the foundation for a society with room for everyone. A school that excludes teaches to exclude and thus reproduces inequity. The inclusive school, on the other hand, teaches not to discriminate based on characteristics, origin, gender or any motive and shows that we do it together with society.
- It teaches to value differences. A child or young person who shares the classroom with a child with a disability will be much better prepared to embrace someone different and find the potential of each person. That is why, according to specialists, the great universities of the world do not hinder diversity. For their part, from the ORT school, they agree that inclusive education is not only beneficial for the student with disabilities, but also for all their classmates since it “forms students better prepared for life.” Heterogeneity is a factor that allows children to grow and learn what a more real, more diverse world is. “This helps them develop psychosocial skills, such as being more tolerant, putting themselves in the place of the other, managing conflicts and being able to look and listen better,” explains Patricia Gurfinkiel, the institution’s pedagogical director.
- Consolidate learning communities. Teamwork between teachers, administrators and non-teaching staff, fostering family participation and peer support are key in an inclusive school and transform the school into a set of constant learning interactions.
- There is more creativity and teaching innovation. A teacher who receives a child with a disability in his classroom has to change his teaching methodology to adapt to that boy and, as a result, all students benefit.
- Equalize opportunities. This is the central purpose of compulsory schooling and it is only realized when schools welcome everyone and implement strategies so that all boys and girls can learn and participate.
José María Tomé, Gabriela Santuccione and Rocío Iglesias, Argentine leaders in inclusive education offer their views on the benefits of a school for all.