And in a knowledge economy, education is the new currency by which nations maintain economic competitiveness and global prosperity.
Education is an investment, and one of the most critical investments we can make.
In many cases, it is literally a matter of life and death.
A mother who can read can better protect her children from chronic illnesses, from AIDS, and from dying young.
Around the world, children are excluded from schools where they belong because of disability, race, language, religion, gender, and poverty.
But every child has the right to be supported by their parents and community to grow, learn, and develop in the early years, and, upon reaching school age, to go to school and be welcomed and included by teachers and peers alike.
When all children, regardless of their differences, are educated together, everyone benefits—this is the cornerstone of inclusive education.
Inclusive education means different and diverse students learning side by side in the same classroom. Inclusive education values diversity and the unique contributions each student brings to the classroom.
And school staff have the training, support, flexibility, and resources to nurture, encourage, and respond to the needs of all students.
Inclusive systems provide a better quality education for all children and are instrumental in changing discriminatory attitudes.