Participants at the conference.

Children with special educational needs and their families have the same human rights as others, including the right to the same quality of life. As such, all children with special educational needs have a right to suitable, effective and appropriate education. This is an agenda that is supported by the recently announced Sustainable Development Goals with Goal 4 focused on ‘inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all’. The Government of India is currently carrying out the largest consultation exercise it has ever undertaken as it moves towards drafting a new National Education Policy. The outcomes and recommendations from the conference would feed into this consultation with the aim of advocating for the rights of children with additional needs across India.

The conference targeted and reached out to policy makers and senior practitioners from across India and 11 other countries including the UK.

The following were the expected outcomes from the conference:

  • The conference to raise awareness of participants and policy makers of good practice globally on access, engagement and enablement of children with Special Educational Needs.
  • The deliberations at the conference to be collated into a report with recommendations. In India this will support and feed into the nationwide consultation being conducted by the MHRD with a view to reforming and refreshing the National Policy of Education.

 Aims / Objectives

The conference which was organised on 27-28 October 2015 aimed to share the experience and expertise of the UK and other countries in this area as well as bring together policy makers and senior practitioners from around the globe to discuss the challenges and opportunities that present themselves in terms of ensuring access and engagement for all.

There were two themes for the conference:

Access and Engagement: This theme explored the latest thinking and research around effective access and engagement for pupils with special educational needs. It challenged participants’ thinking by asking them to reflect on their vision for systemic inclusion and the changes that are necessary in terms of policy, practice and culture.

Empowerment and Enablement: This theme took a forward-looking approach and debated how systems can support the development of an appropriate infrastructure for inclusion. This included a focus on how leaders and practitioners can be supported to respond and adapt to a changing pupil population.

Key Activities with Description

The conference had presentations, panel discussion and workshops on a series of interesting topics which included the following: 

• Access and Engagement

• Engagement and Enablement

• A space to learn for all children—Inclusive education and children with disabilities in Yangon

• Creating a culture for Inclusion

• Inclusion—A policy in practice

• Changes, challenges and choices: creating a curriculum for all

• A window on inclusion: an experience from India

• The challenge of challenging children: how can we embed good practice into our systems?

• Challenging exclusion

• How ICT can support young people with SEN to access and engage in their education more effectively?

• How do we build capacity for inclusion: empowerment and enablement?

• Crowd control or engagement? Engaging and motivating students with challenging behaviour in large classes

• A window on inclusion: Children are partners in change

• Taking the Matter into Own Hands: How Schools Can Participate in the Inclusion Agenda?

• Practical steps in creating an inclusive school: differentiation and more.

• Inclusive Education in the Chinese Community: The next steps for advancement.

• Inclusive Education for children with visual impairment: A Collaborative Responsibility

• The role of the special educator in the inclusive classroom

The detailed programme brochure for this conference can be downloaded from the downloads section below. The section also includes presentations made by different delegates from different countries across the world.