Implementing Inclusive Education: A Commonwealth Guide to Implementing Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities

Author(s) Richard Rieser
Publisher Commonwealth Secretariat
Published 2008
Pages 200
Price £20.00
ISBN 9780850928853
Reviewed by Mrs Margaret Simms
ProCEEd
Review published 23 January 2009

Article 24 requires the development of inclusive educations systems for all children. ‘Implementing Inclusive Education: A Commonwealth Guide to Implementing Article 24 of the UN Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities’ I found to be well researched, well written and highly accessible. The book is a product of a process of persuasion designed to encourage the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

The background and purpose of the UN Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities is introduced along with a timeline of the adoption journey from 1966 to 2006.

The book favours the social model of disability, placing the emphasis of disablement on barriers in society and environment as such barriers are in themselves disabling.

Chapter 2 shows a clear need for implementation of Article 24 with an estimated 500 to 600 million people disabled people worldwide, 120 – 150 million of which are children. The book is most informative. ‘UN data suggests that 72 million children are not enrolled in primary education’, some are ‘hidden away in backyards.’

Attitudes to disability are aired and discussed in Chapter 3. Models of thinking around disability show the medical model to be most dominant, and the social model to be most valuable as it challenges disabling barriers, prejudices and inaccessible environments.

Inclusive education sees the education system as the problem not the person. Chapter 4 argues strongly for inclusive education and against segregated and integrated education. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a simple and effective figure to explain inclusive education. I refer to Figure 4.3 on page 24 of the book.

Chapters 5 and 6 showcase work on inclusive education that is taking place in a number of different countries, such as Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, India, Mozambique, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka , UK, Pakistan, Jamaica and others. Importantly this chapter highlights suggestions made by the UN Special Rapporteur on how to develop inclusive education.

This book leaves nothing to chance; practical suggestions and a toolkit for developing inclusive education in the classroom are presented in Chapter 7. There are references to internet resources including downloadable booklets and guides. Chapter 7 also provides the reader with a ‘how to’ section on organising the inclusive classroom, the Index for Inclusive Education Checklist and a wealth of real life examples of good and creative practice on making ‘reasonable adjustments’.

The book sets out to provide arguments for implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. There is no doubt that it has achieved its goal. Powerful images of inclusive education remain in the mind of the reader along with the thought that it is disabled people themselves who have impacted change in a major fashion.

‘Implementing Inclusive Education: A Commonwealth Guide to Implementing Article 24 of the UN Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities’ is more than a book, it is an encyclopaedic working reference, a ‘how to…’ resource which will enthuse any reader and support the development of change. Even more! Two excellent DVDs accompany the book.

I can’t think if anyone who would not need to read this book. I would recommend ordering multi copies for class use in secondary school, college and university. A definite must read for anyone charged with the responsibility of implementing Article 24.