Inclusive education is one of UNESCO's central concerns. In the field of education, inclusion entails the right of all learners to quality education that meets basic learning needs and the development of their full potential, regardless of special educational needs, sex, social or economical backgrounds.
Already in 1994, UNESCO’s Salamanca statement on special needs education defined the aim to create inclusive education systems. In the 48th session of the International Conference on Education in November 2008 in Geneva, the necessity of this objective was reconfirmed. In their final declaration, the Ministers of Education requested the member states to put inclusive education into practise. By the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009, the right to inclusive education in the general education system defined in Article 24 is legally binding in Germany. The EU has ratified the convention in December 2010.
In the same year, the German Commission for UNESCO founded a committee of experts on inclusive education. Since 2009, the German Commission awards the Jakob Muth-Prize for inclusive schools in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Commissioner of the Federal Republic for the Concerns of Disabled Persons. In 2009 as well, the German Commission for UNESCO published the German translation of UNESCO’s Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education.
The German Commission for UNESCO recently adopted two resolutions on inclusive education: "Making Early Childhood Education and Care Inclusive: Ensuring Equal Opportunities and Quality" at its 69th General Assembly in 2009 and the resolution "Strengthening Inclusive Education in Germany" at its 71st General Assembly in 2011.