SALAMANCA STATEMENT: NETWORK FOR ACTION on SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION Adopted by the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality (Salamanca, Spain, 7-10 June 1994). The declaration acknowledges that there are “well-established special school systems for people with specific disabilities” in many countries: these schools can “be a valuable resource for the development of inclusive schools” (UNESCO 1994, p. 12). However, he urged countries to “focus their efforts on the development of inclusive schools” (UNESCO 1994, p. 13), as well as specialized support services to reach the majority of children and young people. All policies, both locally and nationally, should allow children with disabilities to attend their neighbourhood school. These two documents are important instruments for efforts to improve the functioning of schools and to respect the principle of education for all. They are printed in a single publication published by UNESCO. Get a copy of UNESCO`s office in your country or the address at the bottom of this page.
If you are familiar with the content, use both documents to promote their government for improvements in the education of children with disabilities and an inclusive education policy. Each learner plays an equal role, regardless of their needs, differences, status and gender. But 25 years after the adoption of the Salamanca Declaration, it remains a great challenge around the world to ensure that every learner has the same chance to receive and use training. “Inclusive schools are the most effective way to combat discriminatory attitudes and gender discrimination, create host communities, build an inclusive society and achieve education for all,” said Florence Migeon, UNESCO`s Education Inclusion Programme Specialist. The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action, UNESCO, 1994. Ref: ED-94/WS/l 8. In 1994, more than 300 participants – including 92 governments and 25 international organizations – met in Salamanca, Spain, to promote the goals of inclusive education. The resulting Salamanc Declaration (UNESCO, 1994) was framed by a legal perspective on education.
While targeting so-called “special needs” children, the Declaration immediately reaffirmed its commitment to the United Nations and its specialized institutions to “strengthen their contributions to technical cooperation” and improve their networking to better meet integrated special needs. Non-governmental organizations are invited to strengthen their cooperation with national official bodies and to become more involved in all aspects of inclusive education. The declaration calls on the international community to support the inclusive schools approach by subsequently implementing practical and policy changes in the “Directions for Actions at the National Level” section, which acknowledges in the statement that “most of the necessary changes do not apply exclusively to children with specific educational needs” (p. 21); On the contrary, they are part of a more comprehensive reform of education, necessary to improve its quality and relevance and to promote a better level of learning for all learners. Regular, inclusive schools are the most effective way to combat discriminatory attitudes, create welcoming communities, build an inclusive society and create education for all; In addition, they provide effective education for most children and improve the efficiency and ultimately cost-effectiveness of the entire education system. The declaration begins with a commitment to education for all and recognizes the need and urgency of education for all children, young people and adults “in the mainstream education system.” It says that children with special educational needs must “have access to mainstream schools,” adding: