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DRAFT CONCEPT NOTE: 26 October 2018
IESA’s Annual Call to Stand Up for Inclusion Champion’s Event 2019
Creating Learning Opportunities for ALL Children
Event Leads: Inclusive Education South Africa and The National Department of Basic Education
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals intents on ensuring that no one is left behind and that progress takes place across all the 17 goals equally and for everyone. Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” by 2030. This goal emphasizes inclusion and equity as laying foundations for quality education and learning..…
This goal calls for providing safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all. In order to achieve this, countries should ensure inclusion and equity in and through education systems and programs. This includes taking steps to prevent and address all forms of exclusion and marginalization, disparity, vulnerability and inequality in educational access, participation, and completion as well as in learning processes and outcomes. It also requires understanding learners’ diversities as opportunities in order to enhance and democratize learning for all students (UNESCO 2005). Even more important is seeing individual differences not as problems to be fixed, but as opportunities for democratizing and enriching learning. Differences can act as a catalyst for innovation that can benefit all learners, whatever their personal characteristics and home circumstances…
UNESCO (2005) explains that integrating principles of equity and inclusion into education policy involves valuing the presence, participation and achievement of all learners, regardless of their contexts and personal characteristics. It also includes recognizing the benefits of student diversity, and how to live with, and learn from, difference. Closely linked to this is the collection, collation and evaluation of evidence on children’s barriers to education access, to participation and to achievement, with particular attention to learners who may be most at risk of underachievement, marginalization or exclusion.
Chapter 9 of the National Development Plan Vision for 2030 document prioritises the improvement in education and training outcomes. The goal is to provide inclusive education that enables everyone to participate effectively in a free society. Education provides knowledge and skills that people use to exercise a range of other human rights. Ensuring that all children have access to quality education will help South Africa meet its employment equity goals in the long run.

One of the National Development Plan’s targets for 2030 is that between 80-90% of learners should complete 12 years of schooling and or vocational education with at least 80% successfully passing the exit exams. However, school dropouts continue to be a challenge in the education system. According to SADTU, less than 50% of learners who enrolled in grade one in 2002 wrote final Matric exams in 2014. This is an indication of a chronic drop-out rate among learners, far from getting closer to the NDPs targets for 2030. In 2017, only 29% of learners who sat for the National Senior Certificate qualified for a Bachelor’s degree. This highlights a need to critically look into the reasons why the drop-out rates remain high and also the pass rates remain low.

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The Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support Policy (2014) attempts to address the diverse needs of all learners who experience barriers to learning. It does not refer only to learners who have physical disabilities or specific learning impairments, but also to the fact that ‘…. Different learning needs arise from a range of factors, including physical, mental, sensory, neurological and developmental impairments, psycho-social disturbances, differences in intellectual ability, particular life experiences or socioeconomic deprivation.’ (White Paper 6, page 17). In addition, issues such as the nature of the curriculum, the medium of instruction, poor teaching and discriminatory attitudes can also create barriers to learning. Inclusion is a process of addressing and responding to students’ diversity by increasing their participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion within and from education (UNESCO, November 2005).

Inclusive Education South Africa (IESA) is a registered NPO that has, since 1995, been committed to promoting and supporting the development of more inclusive schools in ordinary pre-schools, schools and other centres of learning in South Africa. IESA’s vision is of an inclusive education system which recognizes that all children have the right to meaningful participation in education. We believe in a system which acknowledges diversity in all its forms and strive to meet the needs and abilities of every child in any environment where learning takes place. Our mission is to challenge and change attitudes towards inclusion in education. We do this by building inclusive awareness as well as capacity and skills development of educators, ECD practitioners as well as parents and caregivers of children. We support educators as well as parents to understand inclusion and to build their capacity to create opportunities for children in need.

Inclusive Education South is pursuing the goal of promoting the right to equitable inclusive education and demonstrating good inclusive practice while building capacity across all its project areas across the provinces of South Africa. We aim to become an inclusive education think tank, able to serve both in sharing and dissemination of information as well as influencing policy by engaging thought leaders as well as academics in the development of inclusive education practice. We partner with civil society, government and the private sector to change attitudes towards inclusive practice. We view Inclusive education as a social justice issue that serves as a vehicle to achieving transformation and inclusive societies in South Africa.
Bringing the principles of equity and inclusion into education policy requires engaging other sectors, such as health, social welfare and child protection services, to ensure a common administrative and legislative framework for inclusive and equitable education. In addition, engaging key education and community stakeholders to foster the conditions for inclusive learning, and to foster a broader understanding of the principles of inclusion and equity is necessary.
A call to stand up for inclusion
One of IESA’s key goal is to create an inclusive education think space by bringing together key inclusion stakeholders within the education sector to share experiences, learnings and approaches to raise awareness on the important role of inclusion in strengthening the right to quality and equitable education for all children. This goal will be realised through a stakeholder engagement event which will be conducted annually.
IESA’s Annual Call to Stand Up for Inclusion Champion’s Event
Barriers to learning may arise from a number of sources, and may be intrinsic or extrinsic to learners. Intrinsic barriers refer to those barriers to learning that learners are born with while extrinsic barriers are those factors that arise outside the learner, but negatively impact on their learning. Barriers to learning result from a complex interplay of learners and their contexts, including the reality of impairments or disabilities, socio-economic restraints and wider societal factors including values, attitudes, policies and institutions. Thus learners experience barriers differently depending on the family of which they are a part, the extent to which their schools facilitate access and participation and the resources in the communities and societies in which they live.

The Call to Stand Up for Inclusion Champion’s Event will focus at inclusion in education on a broad spectrum. Thus different stakeholders will be invited to present papers on their perspective of inclusion in education based on their areas of expertise and focus. This will be an opportunity to bring all role players in the inclusive education sector together and map the way forward.

EVENT THEME: Champion the movement – Stand Up for Inclusion
EVENT GOAL: Creating an Inclusive Education Think Space for South Africa
EVENT OBJECTIVE: Bring together key inclusion stakeholders within the education space to highlight and raise awareness on the important role of inclusion in strengthening the right to quality and equitable education for all children.

This will be achieved through:
Sharing reflections on inclusion in education
Inspiring, connecting and transforming through documented journeys on inclusion
Sharing of research and findings from IESA’s inclusion programmes
Making the case for credible CSI investment in inclusive education
Calling to join the movement to champion inclusive education
Map the way forward and develop clear action plans
Policy makers: National Department of Education
Other Government Departments: Department of Social Development
Current Funders
Prospective Funders including private sector
Individuals (prospective role players)
South African Council for Educators
Unions operating in the Education Sector
IESA Ambassadors
Civic Society Organisations operating in the education space and children’s rights
International Agencies like UNICEF and UNESCO
DURATION OF EVENT: Half day event from 9:00am to 14:00pm
PROPOSED EVENT DATE: April 2019. The event will be an annual event conducted in the first half of the year.

GUEST OF HONOUR: Minister of Education
MASTER OF CEREMONY: One of South Africa’s popular celebrities

LOCATION: Gauteng (Pretoria/Johannesburg)
Expectations to Department of Basic Education
IESA is requesting the Department of Basic Education to co-lead the hosting of the Call to Stand Up for Inclusion Event. More specifically, the Department of Basic Education to be involved in:
Guest of Honour: We are aiming for the Minister of Education or Other DBE Official
Key Note Address: Inclusive Education Department of Basic Education
Venue hire: A venue that can hold a minimum of 150 delegates
Some Documents for the Guest Packs: SIAS Policy Factsheets, Other relevant documents
Use of the Department’s Logo and banners
Event endorsement
Brief Programme Outline
The event day will structured around:
Inspire, Connect and Transform through stories and videos “Our Stories of Inclusion”
Key Note Address (Dr. Simelani – Inclusion is Social Justice)
Country Reflections of Inclusion – Case Studies and papers
Inclusion in our mainstream schools – Do those who need it access it – Making the case for investment in inclusion
Way forward
Other logistic items
Catering for at least 150 delegates
Guest Pack items- Branded IESA bags, folders, our fact sheets, Advocacy DVD, branded lanyards, etcIESA Banners outside and inside venue
Topics, Sample Papers & Articles Online for Free. (2016). Intrinsic and Extrinsic barriers. Online. Available at: 23 Oct. 2018

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