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Sekolah Khusus Bukan Solusi


Artikel berikut, meski kasusnya di Inggris, menarik untuk dicermati dalam konteks perdebatan pendidikan inklusi versus sekolah khusus alias sekolah eksklusi:

Education: exclusion is not equality


According to a news report I read, a spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) apparently stated that their policy is that having segregated special schools for some disabled children is acceptable.
I hope this is not the case and that this will be rapidly corrected because if it is not, the EHRC is failing to carry out the fundamental democratic role it has and is not fit for purpose.
There are two key features of a healthy democracy: the will of the people, often demonstrated by public elections and referenda, AND the protection of minorities and individuals, often demonstrated by equalities and human rights legislation. Have the first without the second and you end up with the rule of the mob – witness Nazi Germany. And because there is a tension between these two facets of democracy, there will be occasions when a majority wants to deny equality or human rights to designated individuals or groups. It is therefore vitally important that custodians of equality and human rights like the EHRC champion the highest standards because there are always vested interests keen to water them down or deny them entirely.
Whatever the views of a particular commissioner or official of the EHRC on education for disabled children, they have a responsibility beyond their own opinion to encourage the highest standard possible. For the education of disabled children, that standard is fully inclusive education, something that the UN had no problem endorsing in their Convention on our rights. For no other group would our society now tolerate enforced segregation in education - even though arguments that are used for the segregation of disabled children have been used for segregating those other groups – black children in America and South Africa and girls in Afghanistan.
It is wrong for the EHRC to endorse the compromises of successive governments to claim segregated education is justifiable as the UK did when ratifying the UN Convention, rather than support the aspiration of effective fully inclusive education and acknowledge that the UK still has work to do in delivering it.
There is nothing unreal about this aspiration – Newham Council in London has done it successfully for years. And there is certainly nothing unreal about the consequences of segregation – fewer friends, less social support, lower aspirations, lower achievement, poorer job prospects, greater poverty, greater dependence on the state, more harassment, bullying and hate crime, persisting public ignorance and prejudiced attitudes, poorer understanding by society of how to support successful inclusion, all leading inexorably to even greater exclusion and inequality later in life.
A good quality formal education delivered within the society to which an individual belongs is a fundamental element in delivering equal opportunities, enabling social mobility and realising personal potential within that society. My life chances, having been born disabled, were massively improved by the state education I was allowed to receive alongside my societal peers. And enabling inclusion is a key learning goal for us all.
Government champions parental choice as a reason for segregation. But they should provide all parents who want their disabled child to attend a mainstream school to get a properly supported school place too.

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