Does "Education for All", mean all? What are the barriers to participating in education? How do you include “all” in the classroom? These are just some of the questions that over 8500 enthusiastic and dedicated people discussed during two successful runs of The Right to Education Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) developed by the inclusive education team at the University of Glasgow. Participants had the opportunity to consider the international and national legislation relating to inclusive education. They also explored how their country supports and includes those who are marginalised and excluded.
The range of expertise of the people involved was striking with class teachers from all 7 continents, UNICEF Education officers from Africa, South America and Southeast Asia, journalists, a playwright and parents to name but a few all contributing to the discussions. The course also allowed us to showcase work being carried out across the globe by some of our inclusive education alumni and of our staff. Examples of practice from Kenya, Ukraine and Botswana as well as Scotland allowed us to see that change is possible. Contributions from University staff working in the areas of adult learning, comparative and international education and inclusive education completed the impressive lineup.
Strengthening capacity within and through teachers and teacher education will in turn strengthen a country’s capacity to build an inclusive learning environment. As international legislation is implemented, and the move towards inclusive education develops, the need for effective continuing professional development of the highest quality in this area increases. The commitment of those involved in this course to creating a more inclusive and equitable learning environment for all by 2030 was clear. The challenge is great, but together we can make a difference.
Margaret Sutherland is a lecturer in Additional Support Needs and is Programme Leader for the Masters in Inclusive Education and the Certificate/Diploma in Support for Learning/Special Educational Needs. She is also Director of the Scottish Network for Able Pupils (SNAP) anad Depute Director of the Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL). Margaret is a member of the Glasgow Centre for International Development.