22 NOVEMBER 2013

Following the declaration of 2013 as the year of Inclusive Education by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, in December 2012, the Department of Basic Education, in collaboration with MIET AFRICA will be hosting a national workshop on 2 and 3 December 2013 under the theme: “Learning for Democracy in an Inclusive Education and Training System”. The workshop has also been arranged to coincide with International Disability Rights Day on 3 December and is made possible through funding from the Embassy of Sweden.

The workshop will be held at Sol Plaatje House, the head office of the Department of Basic Education in Pretoria and will be attended by researchers from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa as well as by invited representatives from Provincial Departments of Education, Teacher Unions, Disability Rights and Parents’ Organisations. The workshop aims to give concrete and resolute expression to the Minister’s December 2012 declaration.

Key implications of this declaration were that:

  • 2013 would be the year of consolidating and institutionalising critical systems  for the implementation of the Inclusive Education Policy on a system- wide basis given that until to date,  implementation has been progressively introduced to selected districts and schools;
  • It would be ensured that the implementation of inclusion would find expression across all programmes and levels of the system; and
  • The development of funding and human resource provisioning for an inclusive system would be prioritised.

The purpose of the National Workshop will therefore be to mobilise all stakeholders at all levels of education in preparation for a full scale implementation of Inclusive Education from 2014, going forward.

Minister Motshekga will deliver the opening address, followed by Mr Luan Swanepoel, a young adult with Down Syndrome who has completed his education in mainstream education and now works in the open labour market. National and International speakers will share experiences in the field, including collaborative research as well as best practice. It is anticipated that the workshop will come up with an integrated strategy for inclusive education that will strengthen implementation efforts in the SADC region. It is also expected to chart the way forward towards the implementation of an Inclusive Education Learning Community.

For more information contact:

Mr Haroon Mahomed at Mahomed.h@dbe.gov.za

“Ordinary schools with an inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all.”
– Salamanca Statement, 1994

BACKGROUND

MIET AFRICA and Stockholm University are leading the Project: “Learning for Democracy: A Partner-driven North/South Collaboration on Inclusive Education,” an Action Research project involving South Africa, Namibia and Botswana in the south, and Sweden in the north. The initiative is funded by the Swedish Embassy in South Africa and the countries are participating through representatives of their ministries of education, representatives of one university and one non-governmental organisation per country. The project responds to the international shift towards emphasis on creating inclusive systems of education, which has been promoted by several significant bodies and agreements, and is in-line with a human rights-based approach.

There are two components to this project: The first component adopts a broad perspective and aims to strengthen a comprehensive approach to inclusive education both in scope and depth of pedagogical learning. It strengthens understanding of what is meant by democracy and inclusion in educational settings. The second component is a Teacher Development Research Project. It focuses specifically on answering the question: “What are the implications of an inclusive and democratic approach to teaching and learning on teacher education and development?”

Since 2010, the collaboration has focussed on strengthening and deepening knowledge and understanding of Inclusive Education. The investigation has also focused on particular skills, knowledge, attitudes and competencies needed for teachers to teach in an inclusive and democratic way.  Lessons learned from this initiative will be shared during the two-day National Workshop of December 2013.

MEDIA STATEMENT ON THE LEARNING FOR DEMOCRACY IN AN INCLUSIVE EDUCATION SYSTEM WORKSHOP: 2-3 DECEMBER 2013
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