Defining the scope of inclusive education
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Inclusive education has developed and established itself as field of educational research, policy and practice in a relatively short period of time. Put simply inclusive education is both an educational goal and methodology. It seeks to identify and dismantle barriers to education for all children so that they have access to, are present and participate in and achieve optimal academic and social outcomes from school. The Education for All (EFA) movement has progressively chronicled cohorts of excluded students and mobilised governments, education authorities, non-government organisations and civil society to advance inclusive education. Specific population cohorts are more likely to be excluded from, or within, school. This paper reaffirms the Education for All and Sustainable Development Goals aspirations for ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning (SDG4), especially the most vulnerable individuals and population cohorts. More specifically the objective is to consider inclusive education in relation to children and young people with disabilities. Responding to what is typically a poorly conceptualised and defined area of educational research and practice, this paper attempts to chart the relationship between regular and special education as a means for analysing the attenuation of inclusive education through its appropriation and application by special education. The think piece identifies forces for exclusion in contemporary education policy and practices, employing this backdrop as a basis for suggesting areas for research and monitoring at global, regional and local levels in preparation for Global Educational Monitoring Report 2020.