Call for Equality for Students with Disability
Australian students with disabilities
are still being denied the rights of an inclusive education
enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities, according to a Not for Profit White Paper to be
launched this week.
Peak national body, Children with Disability Australia (CDA) is
launching a landmark issues paper Inclusion in Education:
towards equality for students with disability. The paper draws
on over 170 research papers and discusses what it describes as a
considerable body of evidence that demonstrates the benefits of
inclusive education for all students.
The White Paper says children and young people in Australia have
a right to an inclusive education however it is still common for
students with disability to be denied this experience.
"For students with disability, there are entrenched barriers to
receiving an inclusive education in Australia. The biggest barriers
to inclusion in education relate to discriminatory attitudes.
Disability is associated by many with low expectations, and notions
of burden and charity, rather than real participation," the Paper
"It is critical that education communities value
diversity and quality education becomes a reality in the lives of
students with disability," the Executive Officer of Children with
Disability Australia, Stephanie Gotlib said.
"Inclusive education is about a system that ensures
that every student can actively participate in and contribute to
all areas of their learning. In 2013 this should not be a
revolutionary idea, but should be the norm in education in
The author of the report, Dr Kathy Cologon said:
"Discriminatory attitudes and practices pose serious barriers to
inclusive education, and yet, despite these challenges, research
evidence overwhelmingly supports inclusive education.
"In addition to the outcomes for social justice and sense of
community and belonging, research provides evidence of positive
outcomes of inclusive education for social, academic, cognitive and
physical development in children who do and do not experience
"It is crucial that the findings of this report are
key considerations as we enter into a critical time in education
reform in Australia, a key focus being students with disability.
This means re-examining attitudes and understanding of disability
at the policy and school levels, including embedding inclusive
education in training for teachers," Gotlib said.
"In addition, it is absolutely critical to ensure the
best outcomes for all students and that schools are appropriately
resourced to enable the provision of inclusive education in the
"There is an entrenched culture of low expectations
for students with disability in Australia. This impacts on the life
opportunities, support and ultimately education outcomes for young
people with disability. Inclusion in Education: towards equality
for students with disability highlights the benefits for all when
the rights of students with disability are not only recognised but
become a practical every day reality."
References and further information