Skip main navigation

The United Nations’ definition of inclusion

Learn why the United Nations released General Comment No.4 to define inclusive education.
Aerial view of pedestrians walking in the formation of an arrow pointing forward.
© Orbon Alija
Just as we need a shared understanding of what inclusive education is, so too do the nations of the world.

Although Article 24 specifically refers to inclusive education, it does not define it. This resulted in local interpretation and inconsistency in practice. Many systems have continued with out-dated practices while claiming to have adopted inclusion. This is why in 2016, the United Nations released General Comment No. 4 to explain the right to inclusive education and the obligations of ratifying countries. General Comment No. 4 defines inclusion as:

‘. . . a process of systemic reform embodying changes and modifications in content, teaching methods, approaches, structures and strategies in education to overcome barriers with a vision serving to provide all students of the relevant age range with an equitable and participatory learning experience and environment that best corresponds to their requirements and preferences.’ (United Nations, 2016, para 11)

The CRPD definition of inclusion provides governments, education systems, school leaders, teachers, parents and students with a clear pathway forward.

© QUT 2019. All rights reserved. CRICOS No. 00213J
This article is from the free online

Inclusive Education: Essential Knowledge for Success

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now