Key Components of Inclusive Education

by Viktor Lechta (Volume editor) Nad'a Bizová (Volume editor)
Monographs 264 Pages
Series: Spectrum Slovakia, Volume 22


This monograph links to the monograph "Reflection of Inclusive Education of the 21st Century in Correlative Scientific Fields" (Lechta. V. - Kudláčová, B., Frankfurt: Peter Lang 2013). It should be a summary of the most relevant components of inclusive education and proposals for further development. The co-authors are influential representatives of inclusive education from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Germany. Structure of authors present their findings from the aspect of pedagogy, psychology, special education, therapeutic education, social pedagogy, history, philosophy, psychology, law, medicine in this field in its transdisciplinary correlation. The monograph is intended mainly for the experts from all the disciplines that participate in the care of people with disabilities, as well as students and parents that are interested in it.

Table Of Contents

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This monograph links to the following monographs “Inclusive Education and its Components” (Trnava-Bratislava 2013), “Reflection of Inclusive Education of the 21st Century in Correlative Scientific Fields” (Frankfurt 2013) and “Inclusive Education” (Prague 2016); while it expands their core parts, complements and adds to these publications further current knowledge.

Globally there continues the long-term trend within which are taken the meritorious decisions and practical measures for the field of inclusive education (especially at the level of school policy) often without previous analysis targeted on the readiness and quality of its individual components. In these cases, there may emerge not only a serious threat of unsuccessful inclusion of children in individual cases but the overall inclusive process may result in slowing down of the pace of its implementation. The result is the condition of educational practice, which in most countries cannot be characterised as closed, fully implemented inclusion, but only a transition process – as a specific temporary condition between traditional and inclusive approach to education.

The fundamental determinant of the success of inclusive education as a whole is the quality and permanent interaction of its sub-components (Lechta 2016). A detailed analysis of the individual components of inclusive education is thus of extreme urgency: We therefore believe that it is more than legitimate to present it in a separate monograph. At the forefront of our concerns there are mainly the components that reflect the altered paradigm in the perception of children with disabilities, disruption and threat due to their inclusive education in modern society at the beginning of 21st century.

The co-authors of the monograph are influential representatives of inclusive education from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, ←7 | 8→Austria and Germany. The authors identify themselves with the basic thesis: Any premature or inappropriate application of inclusive education can harm precisely those who want to be helped: children with disabilities, disruption, and threat; their classmates, parents and educators. The positive examples of educational practice confirmed that the sign of reasonable and responsible inclusive education and unconditional prerequisite for its success is the procedure by which the implementation is preceded by a comprehensive analysis of its individual components. We tried to concretize such analysis in our monograph: It should be a summary of the most relevant components of inclusive education, their definition, elaboration of the current situation and proposals for further development, while the final output is the warning of the need to eliminate the deficiencies, weaknesses and threats of failure but also strengths and opportunities that should be developed. The monograph is intended mainly for the experts from all the disciplines that participate in the care of people with disabilities, as well as students and parents that are interested in it.

The monograph originated with the support of the project of Ministry of Education, Sciences, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic VEGA No 1/0608/14 Quality of Life (of Pupils with Disability) in the Multiperspectives of Inclusive Education and VEGA No 1/0266/14 Indicators of Quality of Life in the Context of Education.

In Trnava, 26th April, 2017


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1. A Component Analysis of Inclusive Education – Basis for its Successful Implementation

Viktor Lechta

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In the system of inclusive education - in agreement with other structured systems - it is possible to identify several determining components1. Nevertheless, inclusive education obviously differs from the other similar systems, especially in the fact that its platform consists of a large number of these components (and their sub-components), but on closer inspection we notice, except for their quantity, that these components are extremely heterogeneous. The most important components of inclusive education are the following ones: ethical, economic, historical, user-oriented, and others.

Changes in already entrenched system (and educational system in the form of a separate “special” and “ordinary” education, is historically and socially entrenched2 for a long time ago) inevitably bring many new, and for unprepared persons involved, often unexpected problems. This is also true for persons involved in inclusive education. There participate many (more or less involved) agents: starting with parents of children with disabilities, disruption, and threat and parents of intact children, continuing through the full range of experts involved (teachers, psychologists, physicians, social workers, speech therapists), to the most diverse governmental and non-governmental, regional and supranational institutions. While it cannot be forgotten that the centre of interest are the students with disabilities, disruption and threats and their intact peers.

Globally, the long-term trend continues, within which the field of inclusive education (especially at the course of politics and school politics) adopt meritorious theoretical conclusions and practical arrangements often without previous analysis aimed at the readiness and quality of its individual components. In these cases, it can lead not only to a serious threat of unsuccessful inclusion of individual children or pupils, but also the pace of its implementation might be reduced in overall inclusive process. The consequence of that is the condition of educational practice, which cannot be characterized as a closed and fully implemented inclusion in most countries. It can be defined as a specific temporary condition, more precisely formulated by the doublet “Integration/Inclusion”, on the basis of which an inclusive system of education should be developed in a purposeful and systematic way3.

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The determinant of successful inclusive education as a whole is a quality and permanent interaction of its sub-components (Lechta 2016b). Therefore, the analysis of individual components of inclusive education is of extreme urgency. We believe therefore that it is rightful to present it in a separate monograph. The focus of our attention should particularly be the components reflecting altered paradigm in the perception of children/pupils with disabilities, disruption and threat in view of their inclusive education in modern society at the beginning of the 21st century4.

1.1Philosophical Component

It is obvious that an essential base of the whole concept of inclusion must be its philosophical component. The attempts to elaborate it in a complex way, however, can be registered only in the last period. The exponents of postmodern philosophy in their critical treatises raised the problem of failure of pedagogy in solving educational problems of the modern world, or proposed its fundamental change in the form of a radical reform of education also towards inclusion (see for example Winzer 2009). However, a complex philosophical debate under plausible justification absented there. As Kudláčová claims, the thesis of mutual acceptance of people that was pertracted by postmodern was also reflected in educational concepts, including the concept of inclusion (Kudláčová 2010). It turns out, that the enforcement of the proposition/concept into practice is much more difficult than its proclamation. Abstraction and generalization of inclusive educational phenomena into complex philosophical concepts are adrift of their practical implementation. We agree with Sliwerski (2011) who claims that the appropriate starting point for the creation and development of these concepts is personalism – particularly with regard to its dimension of uniqueness and value of a human being.

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1.2Historical Component

The overall trend of how a society approaches to individuals with disabilities in the history of humankind is sufficiently elaborated and presented essentially as the trend from repression to inclusion (Kudláčová 2008, 2010). However, the historiography of inclusive education in the strict sense is only in its infancy: just when we realise that its birth can be dated back to the turn of the 20th to 21st century.

However, in a broader sense, there in the history of pedagogy can be traced explicit inclusive approaches to the “chosen” people with disabilities from the highest social classes – for example, in ancient Rome it was the upbringing and education of physically handicapped heir to the throne Claudius, and Austro-Hungarian education of a blind Austrian lady M. T. von Paradis, the future world-famous musician, for whom even W. A. Mozart composed his piano concerto and so on.

The fact that in the context of this component it is the history, must not be underestimated. It is generally known that good historical analysis can result realistic vision into the future, for example, both Waldorf approach movement and Montessori pedagogy, that have been developed in the early 20th century and at the bottom they both were inclusive – which means that their schools were open to children with disabilities and currently they brought many impulses to the improvement of inclusive education.

1.3Sociological Component

When we want to examine inclusive education from the view of this component, we need to target at people with disabilities, disruption and threat in general, from the aspect of involved social phenomena, systems and groups. Majoritarian community always had to take into consideration the existence of social class of people who require certain social assistance and had to take a certain attitude towards them. However, equally important, are also the attitudes of a minoritarian society – people with disabilities. For example, in terms of social adaptation there are well-known tendencies of various communities of deaf people to separate from mainstream society in order to save their identity.

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People with disabilities, disruption and threat constitute currently in our global scale widespread social group that is always increasing. The WHO report estimates that worldwide there live approximately more than one billion people (15.3% of world population) of moderate and severe degrees of disability, while previous presumptions from the seventies of the 20th century predicted “only” about 10%. The occurrence of secondary and severe disabilities in children from their birth to 14 years is estimated to 5.2% (World Report on Disability 2011).

However, since inclusive education in the sense of the Convention of United Nations from 2006 refers to all age categories and to all levels of disability and, furthermore it relates to the portion of the population that is defined as a vulnerable disabled or impaired group (see Lechta 2016b), it is clear that social group which should declassify inclusive education creates much more than was mentioned in the text, about 15% of the world population. And it should be emphasised that in the inclusion there participates also its “remainder”: the majority so called intact population that is automatically involved in it and arises from the very nature an inclusive idea.

Considering sociological component of inclusion there must be emphasised the difference between a mere tolerating the group of people with a disability, disruption and threat from the side of majoritarian society and between their accepting – inclusion (Lechta 2009). Jesenský (2000) and Požár (2006) prefer so called coadaptation approach in the mutual acceptance of the majoritarian “intact” society and the society of people with disabilities. This is about the interaction between the majoritarian society of “intact” of people and minoritarian society of people with disabilities, disruption and threat, within which the majority has not got a priori monopoly to the values ​that should be accepted within a society. It is the intersection of values ​of both social groups out of which a new quality is resulted. To this term a newer term intersectionality is related (Walgenbach 2015), which focuses on correlation between the forms of discrimination, social inequality due to disability, gender, ethnicity, social background in their mutual intersection.

Contemporary sociology of disability defines disability as a phenomenon which essentially arises only when the damage/disruption of a person is associated to particular social conditions. The focus of its attention is mainly a problem of stigmatisation and destigmatisation, tabooisation and detabooisation, labelling people with disabilities and so on. Sociology of disability examines how the stigma of disability arises in the context of social interactions when someone adversely does things differently than ←14 | 15→the society normally expects5; analyses the “standard” and “disability” as the result of social discourse, defines the concept disability in terms of symbolic violence and so on (Waldschmidt 2011).

1.4Law Component

In regard to inclusive education (but often also in regard to education in general) those concerned in the topic forget about the key thesis of Aristotle: “…the most important task of a legislator is the education of youth” (…). The particular legislative modifications which regulate daily practical sphere of inclusive education often markedly slow behind the general declarations and legal proclamation. The basic legal norms of most countries usually equate with international documents such as the Declaration on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and so on. Their transformation to the level of a legislative guarantor of inclusive educational practice is usually a long lasting process.

The European Agency for Special needs and Inclusive Education (EASNIE) is also aware of the importance of this component of inclusive education and its current remaining behind in the legislation of several EU countries. EASNIE requires from the member states to subsequently ensure the implementation of ratified documents (UN, EU) into the legal standards also their implementation and also the harmonisation of legal terminology of these documents (Soriano 2014).

1.5Ethical Component

It is evident that inclusive education is in its essence mainly of ethical challenge. Its platform consists of unconditional accepting relationship towards people with disabilities as an unquestionable categorical imperative. Fulfilling this categorical imperative is not easy, whether we mean phylog←15 | 16→eny or human ontogenesis. We can talk in this sense about two possible irreconcilable counterparts.

Extremely negative attitudes towards people with disabilities with the flowing into their physical liquidation are characteristic not only for some ancient cultures, antiquity and the Middle Ages, but it was also reflected in the 20th century – for example in the practice of German fascism and a Pol Pot regimen in Cambodia (and in regard to the current global situation and existing extreme fascist movement there is the reason to fear that even the 21st century will not be an exception in respect of repressive excesses). From a strictly ethical point of view we can think in this regard of an extremely negative attitude towards people with disabilities also during the abortion of pregnancy in cases where there is a risk of the birth of a disabled child. Various racist trends now should be evaluated as significantly anti-inclusive.6


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2019 (October)
Philosophy History Sociology Law Ethics Transdisciplinarity
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2019. 264 S.

Biographical notes

Viktor Lechta (Volume editor) Nad'a Bizová (Volume editor)

Viktor Lechta is professor at the Department of Educational Studies at Trnava University. He is focused on diagnostics and therapy of persons with communicative disability, history of the care for persons with disabilities and inclusive education. Naďa Bizová is assistant professor at the Department of Educational Studies at Trnava University. She is focused on the field of leisure time education and inclusive education.


Title: Key Components of Inclusive Education
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266 pages