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Creating Opportunities through Inclusive Education

This image shows a group of people sitting in a big circle and discussing issues
© GCE-Netherlands
CBM attended the Open-up! workshop on inclusive education in the Netherlands on 23 September 2014
On 23 September 2014, CBM spoke at the Open-up! workshop on inclusive education. Lars Bosselmann, Advocacy Manager at the CBM EU Liaison Office, presented and discussed opportunities provided by the European Union under its new Development Cooperation Instrument. Education is a key component of this 7-year programme, but it is up to NGOs to ensure that the inclusion aspect is strengthened.

This workshop was organised by  GCE-Netherlands, The Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development, Gushi Foundation, Edukans and War Child Holland and brought together 40 participants from NGOs who are working in the area of education. The aim of the conference was to identify good practices in implementing inclusive education in a development context, but also how this crucial work can be suppported by development actors such as the European Union. 

During the conference, the enormous potential of inclusive education both for persons with disabilities and for all learners was emphasised. However it was recognised that there is still much to be improved to achieve truly inclusive education, both in Europe and in developing countries. In particular, the importance of putting in place the right support to make inclusion real was highlighted by all speakers. In other words, it is crucial to ensure quality of education for all, not just looking at the question who can make it physically to the class room. Another aspect in the debate was the visibility of persons with disabilities in society. This is the precondition for increasing the believe within societies at large that inclusion can work and that persons with disabilities are part of the human diversity of a community and a country.
Lars believes that "the key to make [inclusive education] happen lies at the country level. There are plenty of opportunities to encourage the EU locally to support inclusive education, but we should not forget that education is, above all, a responsibility of the national government."

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