Holy See calls for Inclusive Education

GENEVA, Switzerland – The Holy See is calling for an “inclusive” education that goes beyond the principle of efficiency and respects the dignity of every human person.
This was the exhortation made by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer at the U.N. offices in Geneva, at the U.N. 48th International Conference on Education, held last Tuesday through Friday.

The archbishop affirmed that the Holy See “fully subscribes” to the idea that “a way to a future of peaceful coexistence, of mutual respect and enrichment by sharing the gifts of different cultures and traditions, comes through ‘education of all.’ Such an education takes into account the needs of every person and in particular the needs of the poor and most vulnerable, of people with disabilities, of rural and of city slums youth, of young people and adults, without any discrimination.”

The Holy See representative called to mind that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, marking its 60th anniversary this year, includes the right to education, and notes that parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

“Inclusion works through the promotion of a society that respects the dignity of every human person and goes beyond criteria of efficiency,” he said. “The present financial crisis is a concrete lesson: Only the person that conceives relations with others beyond criteria of productivity and control can value reality in a balanced perspective and assume appropriate responsibility. This type of education is able to help forming individuals and new generations to social participation, to solidarity, to overcoming exclusion and to critically understand reality.”

Archbishop Tomasi also affirmed that educational institutions should “constitute an environment in which educators could answer to the affective and cognitive needs of the child, not only in transmitting information, but also in being relevant for the children in this delicate phase of their lives.”

Furthermore, he said, “educators should remain aware that they carry out their service in cooperation with parents, who are the first ‘educational agency’ and have the priority right and duty to educate their children. This convergence of efforts is an evident application of the basic principle of subsidiarity.”

The Holy See urged educational institutions to be places of “integral formation through interpersonal relations based on mutual respect and acceptance.”

Citing Benedict XVI, he said that “an education would be most impoverished if it were limited to providing notions and information and neglected the important question about the truth, especially that truth which can be a guide in life.”

Thus, Archbishop Tomasi concluded, “an inclusive education embraces all children and youth in their existential context and all persons dedicated to their formation, a comprehensive process that combines transmission of knowledge and development of personality. […] At its best, education provides everyone with the tools to contribute a creative participation in community, to reflect and give an appropriate answer to the unavoidable profound questions of meaning, to live with others, to discover one’s nature and inherent dignity as spiritual creatures.”

One Response

  1. Hi,
    as your page is dealing with diversity/ability-topics, we would love to inform you about or contest on the topic of inclusion.
    We are trying to build an international database and discussion plattform for the various definitions of inclusion/inclusive education.

    We would be pleased if you would link definitely-inclusive.org on your web site, either by writing a post or using one of our banners.

    Best regards and thank you for your support
    Frank J. for the team of definitely-inclusive.org

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