The right to education is a universal right recognized by international human rights law and, as such, applies to all persons, including persons with disabilities. School systems have typically adopted one of three approaches to persons with disabilities, being: exclusion, segregation, and integration. Exclusion occurs when a student is kept away from school on the basis of the existence of any impairment and is not provided with an alternative educational opportunity which is on equal terms with the other students. Segregation occurs when a student with an impairment is sent to a school designed to respond to the impairment (usually a special-education school system). Integration occurs when a student with an impairment is placed in a mainstream school insofar as that student can adjust to the standardized requirements of the school.
Inclusive education emerged as a response to these approaches, all of which are discriminatory to persons with disabilities. Inclusive education is a process that recognizes: (a) the obligation to eliminate barriers that restrict or ban participation in education, and (b) the need to change culture, policies, and practices of mainstream schools so as to accommodate the needs of all students (including those with impairments). Inclusive education has been recognized to be the most appropriate modality for States to guarantee universality and non-discrimination in the right to education.
This section sets out legal and other resources on inclusive education. The legal resources are divided into the following categories:
International resources, which are arranged by human rights bodies.
Domestic resources, which are arranged by countries.