Prof. Sudesh Mukhopadhyay

Enabling Collaborations & Partnerships in Inclusive Education

Prof. Sudesh Mukhopadhyay
For understanding practices in Inclusive education, we can start from the point when formal classrooms came into existence a few centuries back as a result of need for Mass Education or when we started talking about Human Rights, Rights of the Child and Rights of the Persons with Disabilities. Fact is every issue is contextualized to a given country and levels and divisions within the country. Great Britain has four identities: England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland; USA: North and South America, Australia East Coast and West Coast as much as we have Northern and Southern states, Northeast, Eastern and Western states! So I will focus on developments from 2008 onwards when more than 160 Countries met in Geneva to discuss the Inclusive Education: The Way Forward. NIEPA prepared the Country report for this IBE Conference at Geneva .

Today increasingly the new paradigm of disability called the ‘social model’, maintains that disability is a product of an interaction between characteristics (e.g. social and personal qualities) of the individual and characteristics of the natural, built, cultural and social environments. Therefore the problem with disability is seen not as the disability or the person with disability, but rather the way that ‘normalcy’ is constructed to create the ‘problem’ of disability. The strength of this model lies in its placing the onus upon society and not the individual. It is this model that has provided the impetus from segregated education to more inclusive educational services for children with disabilities and evolved to Right’s Perspective. Slowly the countries

are moving towards the “Market Economy” considerations. Disability sector need to watch and critically examine the fallout of this emerging framework.
This paper puts Inclusive Education as a cross cutting challenge influenced by the emerging forces and the observable tensions between social justice, empowerment and human resource development and challenges of market economy. It calls for possible modalities to have collaborations and partnerships building on global and national developments.