Inclusive education

Inclusion entails the right of all learners to quality education and the development of their full potential, regardless of special educational needs, disability, sex, social or economical backgrounds.

Inclusive education requires fundamental changes in the German educational system. In particular, the practice of learning and teaching must be adapted to the needs of all, and diversity must be used as a resource. Inclusive education is integrated into German law on the basis of international law.

Why inclusive education?

Inclusion is both a challenge and an opportunity in terms of educational policy. Its success depends on responsible and joint action by politicians, families, kindergartens, schools, social services and communities. There are many reasons to walk the path together:

  • First, there is an educational justifi cation: the requirement for inclusive schools to educate all children together means that they have to develop ways of teaching that respond to individual differences and that therefore benefit all children.
  • Second, there is a social justification: inclusive schools are able to change attitudes toward diversity by educating all children together, and form the basis for a just and non-discriminatory society.
  • Thirdly, there is an economic justification: it is less costly to establish and maintain schools that educate all children together than to educate those not having succeeded in the regular system afterwards. Quality inclusive education enables young people to enter work life and helps them lead a self-determined life.

Designing inclusive education

The German Commission for UNESCO supports the implementation of inclusive education in Germany with its Expert Committee on Inclusive Education. The expert committee includes 29 actors from politics, practice, science and civil society in Germany. They develop solutions to current challenges, promote the concept of inclusive education and provide expertise via model projects. The Jakob Muth Prize is awarded by the German Commission for UNESCO together with the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Federal Government Commissioner for Matters relating to Persons with Disabilities to honor outstanding inclusive schools in Germany.