Countries have grown increasingly committed to the principle of inclusive education in recent decades. As a result, the topic of financing of inclusive education is crucial when evaluating how existing inclusive education policies effectively meet learners’ rights. There are short- and long-term costs of exclusion, which are related to lost productivity, human potential, poor health and well-being. Systems for inclusive education aim to improve schools’ capacity to be equitable, effective and efficient.
By examining the questions above, the Agency’s Financing of Inclusive Education project focused on the critical factors of financing that support access to inclusive education, without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity.
Inclusive education should be an opportunity for schools to provide high-quality, cost-effective learning opportunities for all learners. However, according to information provided by 18 countries in the framework of the Financing project, funding mechanisms do not always present an incentive towards systems for inclusive education, despite increasing expenditure. Current resource allocation mechanisms tend to foster exclusive strategic behaviours. This leads schools to connect the support some learners need with an official decision or label.
The Financing of Inclusive Education - Mapping Country Systems for Inclusive Education report presents an analysis of the funding of inclusive education in European countries. It points out that there are challenges in support at regional, municipal and school level when it comes to implementing the goal of inclusive education systems.
The analysis highlights that the effectiveness and quality of governance mechanisms must be improved. Means and resources should be available within an integrated framework, which allows for co-ordinated provision and co-operation among all institutions and stakeholders involved in the system for inclusive education.
It has also become apparent from the analysis of the participating countries’ financing systems that resourcing of inclusive education must be linked to the approach of inclusive design for learning. Such an approach incorporates both the universal design approach to learning and a compensatory perspective for learners with the most severe needs, in order to provide high-quality learning environments for all learners in mainstream settings.
For more information about the project and other materials, visit the Financing project web area.