Inclusive education is a process that involves the transformation of schools and other centres of learning to cater for all children – including boys and girls, students from ethnic and linguistic minorities, rural populations, those affected by HIV and AIDS, and those with disabilities and diffi culties in learning and to provide learning opportunities for all youth and adults as well. Its aim is to eliminate exclusion that is a consequence of negative attitudes and a lack of response to diversity in race, economic status, social class, ethnicity, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ability. Education takes place in many contexts, both formal and non-formal, and within families and the wider community. Consequently, inclusive education is not a marginal issue but is central to the achievement of high quality education for all learners and the development of more inclusive societies. Inclusive education is essential to achieve social equity and is a constituent element of lifelong learning.
These guidelines were discussed in a side event at the International Conference on Education in Geneva, Nov 2008 and recommendations from that meeting have been built into this fi nal version. We hope that they will serve as a resource for policymakers, teachers and learners, community leaders and members of civil society in their efforts to promote more effective strategies for reaching the EFA goals.