The challenges to ensure inclusive education at the core of Bridging the Gap 2018 Annual event
Under the heading “Tackling the challenges to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education”, Bridging the Gal celebrated its 2018 Annual event on November 28th in Madrid (Spain), gathering institutional representatives, development practitioners and organisations of persons with disabilities.
The event was introduced by the Director of the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), Anna Terrón. She was accompanied during the opening remarks by Laura Oroz, Head of department for cooperation with Andean and Southern American Countries at AECID; Françoise Millecam, Head of Sector Employment at the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission; Victoria Lee, Programme Manager of Bridging the Gap I at OHCHR; César Martínez, State Secretary for Human Rights for Persons with disabilities of Paraguay, and Ana Peláez, Vice-President of the European Disability Forum (EDF) and member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discriminations against Women.
All institutional representatives highlighted the opportunity that Bridging the Gap provides to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities through international cooperation, emphasizing the importance of inclusive education to guarantee the achievement of these rights. “Education does not prepare for life, education is life itself”, stressed the Bridging the Gap I Programme Manager, Victoria Lee.
Following the institutional welcoming, two inspiring keynote speeches took place. Jorge Solana, Advisor at the Spanish High Commission for the Agenda 2030, talked about the Spanish efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the importance of including persons with disabilities in this Agenda. Likewise, the journalist and disability activist Vicky Bendito gave a speech based on her personal story, explaining her step from a specialized school to a regular school, underlining the message of how different her adult life could have been life if all the people around her had had the opportunity to share school with persons with disabilities at school.
Tackling the challenges of inclusive education
Two roundtables raised the debate on some of the main challenges to ensure inclusive education: Data and statistics for ensuring inclusive education policy planning (roundtable I), and “Mainstreaming gender and disability in inclusive education: the experience of the international cooperation” (roundtable II).
Both sessions were moderated by well-known journalists and fostered engaging debates among panelists from different backgrounds such as development agencies, organisations of persons with disabilities and public administrations, awakening audience interest on the topics addressed
The closing remarks by Anna Terrón, Director of FIIAPP and Federico Martire, Director of Bridging the Gap II, and the inclusive performance by “ARYMUX signodanza” put the finishing touch to an event attended by around 70 people, in which inclusive education was revealed as a platform for enabling the full participation of persons with disabilities in society.