Index for Inclusion in Chile.
The education system in Chile still has many barriers to overcome for a true inclusive system, especially since it has serious problems of inequality and socio-economic segregation (OCDE, 2012). Nevertheless there has been progress in the creation of some policies, implementing reforms and regulations that allow teachers to work with diversity, in a way integration can to be possible in the educational system. Thus a deeper process should be taken to pursue changes. One of them is to intend education as a tool for social mobility, and as a right guarantied for the Chilean State.
Policymakers have adopted the international mandate of inclusion and implemented a number of isolated policies designed to integrate students with disabilities into the regular educational system. The goal is to provide curricular modifications to those students, based upon their special educational needs. But this is only a part of Inclusion.
In order to create a real Inclusion process, our institutions must undergo reliable changes, to offer the communities the possibility to become involved. This can be seen through participation of the learning process, proposing solutions as a student, a worker or part of the family in which they live.
The idea of this view is to make society aware about our role as citizens, in order to break all the barriers for learning and participation in our schools. We must give opportunities to all members to be each time better and respectful of the differences and diversity, given them the possibility to participate in equality of opportunities. In that sense, the Index is a great tool to detect barriers and to develop participation and learning.
The Index for Inclusion in Chile.
The Index for Inclusion was first translated in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2002, completed by the Regional Office of Education of UNESCO’s Latin American and Caribbean branch (Oficina Regional de Educación de la UNESCO para América Latina y el Caribe, OREALC). In this process our awareness was increased as to work for an education that embraces diversity, and as an opportunity for learning. Enrichment was necessary to work not only with children but also with the different levels that compose educational institutions (Policies, Cultures and Practices ).
Also, there is a Spanish version of the Index for Inclusion: developing play, learning and participation in early years and childcare, written by Tony Booth, Mel Ainscow and Denise Kingston, that was translated by members of the Instituto Universitario de Integración en la Comunidad (INICO) in Spain.
This two versions of the Index (INICO and OREALC), were disseminated through seminars, investigations and meetings in the universities, and its theoric framework became very important to our policymakers and our schools.
The New and improved version of the Index developed by Tony Booth (3rd. Edition), was translated to Spanish in 2012 by me and a colleague from University of Alcala, Yolanda Muñoz. In 2012, we did seminars and meetings to disseminate the material. The new version gives the opportunity to reflect with scholar communities the possibility of use of the material as a way to improve learning and participation in four schools in Santiago de Chile and one school in Chillán (Bio-Bio Region, in the South Of Chile).
The third edition with communities has demonstrated the positive effect that reflection on individual and shared values can have. These reflections are an instrument to initiate and support processes of school improvement and innovation, and to place inclusive values into action.
New connections with Universities in Chile are being made. Materials from the Third Edition, to develop Inclusion in their Universities and in Primary and Secondary Schools, are being adapted. There is also work with Schools and Municipalities to develop ways to use the Index.
Future plans to publish some of the discoveries with the new edition of the Index, and to revise the local translation, making this material more accesible to our communities, are projected. We want the Index as a tool for improvement, as a tool for change, in the context of Chilean educational system.
We are also participating in the Iberoamerican Network “Consorcio para la Educación Inclusiva”, which has a website to build awareness of the Index, and to encourage its use. This network serves as a meeting point for schools and professionals, and facilitates the exchange of experiences.
We support public education because it is a pillar of our democracy. Education offers the possibility to equalize opportunities and develop the potential of our children.
Who should I contact?
Ps. Ignacio Figueroa Céspedes, Centro de Desarrollo Cognitivo, Universidad Diego Portales.