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Inclusive education in Germany

Since 2009, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is legally binding in Germany. Article 24 stipulates the right to inclusive education and postulates the attendance of regular schools for disabled children. The German Institute for Human Rights in Berlin acts as a national monitoring body.


In Germany, more than 485.000 children have special educational needs (figures from 2009/2010), though figures vary between the different federal states. While in Rhineland-Palatinate 4.7 percent of all school-aged children have special educational needs, 11.9 percent in Mecklenburg-Westpomerania do so.

Besides children with disabilities, particularly children with migratory backgrounds have special educational needs in the nationwide average. In Germany, about 80 percent of all children with special educational needs are taught in special schools, only about 20 percent attend a regular school. Again, there are large differences among the federal states. While in Bremen and Schleswig-Holstein 36 and 45 percent of children with special education needs attend a regular school, 7 percent in Lower Saxony and 12 percent in Hesse do so.

Special educational schools often prove as a one way street for the further development of children – almost three quarters of all students at special schools do not achieve a secondary modern school qualification.

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)

According to the German Social Security Code, daycare centers have the task to support children in an integrative manner. Thus, children with and without disabilities are to be taken care of and supported together.

However, also in the case of Early Childhood Care and Education, the situation is quite unbalanced in Germany. In Saxony-Anhalt, all children with special educational needs attend inclusive day care facilities. In Berlin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein less than 10 percent of children with special needs are taken care of in special day care facilities. In Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Saxony on the other hand, more than 50 percent of all children with special education needs attend special facilities.



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