Institute on Community IntegrationCollege of Education and Human Development

FYI, the Institute on Community Integration Staff Newsletter

September 2011

ICI’s Global Resource Center: Supporting Inclusive Education Around the World

Serbia, Macedonia, Bangladesh, and Tanzania are just some of the places in which the Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education (GRC) at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) has been working to support inclusion of all young people, including those with disabilities, in their nation’s educational systems. Since 2006 the center has assisted education agencies around the globe to make “Education for All” a reality, and work toward systemic improvement of their education programs, practices, and policies that affect underserved and disadvantaged populations.

“‘Education for All’ has become a policy goal for nations around the world,” says center director Christopher Johnstone, who is also Director of International Initiatives for the College of Education and Human Development. “Many of our projects focus on marginalized children in general. While in the U.S. the term ‘inclusive education’ usually refers to inclusion of students with disabilities in general education settings, in other nations there can be additional groups of children who have not fully participated in their education systems. Our projects address these broader inclusion needs as well as ensuring that children with disabilities are represented in education system planning, training, and research efforts.”

The GRC carries out its mission through a coordinated set of culturally-responsive services that broker the resources of the University and other organizations to meet the needs of education systems at all levels of development. Current and recent projects include:

  • Serbia. The GRC is working with UNICEF Serbia, through the educational consulting firm Miske Witt and Associates, to develop per-pupil costing formulas for inclusive education. The study, conducted by Christopher and ICI’s Sheryl Lazarus, will help Serbian municipalities to structure special needs education services for students by using earmarked funds from block grants from the Republic of Serbia Ministry of Education.

  • Macedonia. Christopher, Suzanne Miric (of the College), educational technology firm Seward Incorporated, and UNICEF Macedonia worked together to produce an assessment of inclusive education practices in Macedonia, which will lead to teacher development activities beginning in late 2011.

  • Bangladesh, Cambodia, Honduras, Ghana, India, Malawi, Mali, and Tanzania. In collaboration with the College’s Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, and Miske Witt and Associates, the GRC was a research partner for CARE International in facilitating girls’ education programs.

  • South Korea. In collaboration with the College, GRC staff (including ICI graduate student Matt Schuelka) provided two months of in-service training on best practices in elementary education to primary education pre-service teachers from Seoul National University of Education.

“We’re excited about the new possibilities for doing this work that have opened up over the past several years,” says Christopher. “We’re looking forward to more opportunities to be part of collaborative projects, large and small, that strive to improve education for all students around the world.”

FFI about the GRC, contact Christopher at john4810@umn.edu or 612-625-2505. Or visit http://globalinclusion.org.