Welcome to the Inclusive Education in Action – Empowering Teachers project area!

The Inclusive Education in Action (IEA) project (2009 onwards) was based on a unique collaboration between the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its institutes (notably the International Bureau of Education), and the Agency.

Through a user-friendly website the IEA project provided innovative examples of policy and practice that clearly illustrate the Suggested Actions of the UNESCO ‘Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education’. The resource aimed to be used as an inspiration to design policy, or to critically examine existing systems for inclusion.

Project framework

The project aimed to provide a resource for international policy makers working to develop equity and equal opportunities within education systems globally. The starting point for the project was the UNESCO Policy Guidelines for Inclusion in Education. The goal of the IEA project was to bridge the ‘policy to practice gap’ by exemplifying the Suggested Actions in the Policy Guidelines.

During the pilot phase – 2009 to 2010 – the IEA project was supported by a European Community Grant from the Lifelong Learning, Comenius Accompanying Measures programme (project number 502868-LLP-1-2009-1-DK-COMENIUS-CAM.

In Spring 2011, the UNESCO Division for Basic to Higher Education and Learning, Section for Basic Education provided additional financial support for the IEA project within the framework of UNESCO’s activity 'Inclusion in Action'.


The IEA project aims to show how people all over the world are working to strengthen the focus on inclusion in education which is recognised as a basic human right and the foundation for a more just and equal society. The project also aims to bridge the ‘policy to practice’ gap, by bringing examples of actions taken by people in a whole range of settings and situations in order to address the policy concerns and policy questions in the UNESCO Guidelines. It may not always be possible to ‘transfer’ policy and practice from one situation or setting to another, as the political, economic, social and cultural background may differ. However, the IEA project will support policymakers by providing examples of interesting practice that will be a stimulus for ideas and discussion.

Project outputs

The main project output of the pilot phase is the Inclusive Education in Action website. The website contains examples of policies, accounts of practice, stories, videos and more. All of these materials exemplify the Suggested Actions in the UNESCO Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education. The examples were gathered through the Agency networks and UNESCO networks and were selected using criteria agreed by the project team as an ‘aid to judgment’. More detailed information can be found in the project Framework and Rationale.

By the end of the pilot period, the website had over 40 examples covering 14 out of 15 of the Suggested Actions. Over half of the examples on the site at the end of the pilot were from Europe, other examples are from Africa, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific and the Arab States. A further call for examples was sent out in 2011 this resulted and additional 61 live examples covering: Europe (35), Asia and the Pacific (10), North America (6), Latin America and the Caribbean (6), Africa (3) and Arab States (1).

The IEA project has also produced a number of print and electronic materials including:

Empowering Teachers: Empowering Learners – follow-up project in 2015

In 2015, UNESCO further supported the updating of the IEA website through its activities for building a knowledge-base on inclusive approaches to teaching and learning. The IEA website was re-focused into a resource for ‘Empowering teachers to promote inclusive education’. The aim remained to provide an on-line resource for international policy-makers and key stakeholders working to develop equity and equal opportunities within education systems globally – with a particular focus on teacher education policy and practice.

The results of the 2015 follow-up work have been summarised in three documents: a literature review, a case study and a methodology overview.

A further output is the re-designed Inclusive Education in Action website: Empowering Teachers: Empowering Learners website. This site includes over 30 examples from all around the globe, focusing on teacher education and professional development. These materials attempt to address the knowledge gap with authentic examples by policy makers and teacher educators, for policy makers and teacher educators to help empower teachers to address learner diversity through more inclusive practice.

classroom practice
compulsory education
raising achievement
teacher education

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