The Evolution of Inclusive Education in Denmark: A History of Inclusions – from Rights-based to Accountability and Competition

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The notion of inclusive education in the public school system is highly debated in Denmark, and internationally. Teachers and school leaders in Denmark are struggling with identifying good inclusive practices, and there seems to be discrepancies between multiple national educational policies, which inform teachers and stakeholders in their understanding of inclusive education.The Danish government passed and initiated a large reform of the Danish public school system in the beginning of 2014. Among other key aspects, the reform involves a more goal-oriented school with quantifiable national goals. For example, 80% of all students are to be proficient in reading and math, the number of the very best students should increase every year and the number of students with the lowest score in reading and math should decrease every year. A few years prior to above-mentioned reform a political decree outlined that 97% of the country’s students are to receive their education in the public school’s general education by 2020. Furthermore, the so-called ‘Inclusion law’, as it is commonly called, was passed in the Danish parliament in April 2012 (Law no. 379). The main purpose of this law was to redefine the notion of special education, and to reform the special educational practice. As a consequence special education is only targeted students who need more than nine weekly hours of support in the class or special education away from his or her class. Thus, the amount of students who are to receive their education within the regular classroom is increased considerably (Hansen, 2012).Historically, Denmark’s inclusive educational practices and understandings are informed by the rights and ethics discourse from The Salamanca Statement. However, it seems that paradoxical policies of inclusive education in Denmark bring forward some conflicting understandings and practices that seem to lie on a continuum that ranges from Salamanca-inspired, equity-focused inclusion to a more US-inspired, accountability-focused inclusion (Engsig & Johnstone, 2014). This presentation will discuss the notion of inclusive education in a Danish context with a focus on the paradoxical policies and discourses that seem to be an empirical phenomenon. Thus, the presentation will bring forward a historical and critical analysis of the evolution of inclusive education in Denmark with a specific focus on the above-mentioned paradoxes.
Publikationsdatojun. 2016
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2016
Begivenhed2016 International Summit on RTI and Inclusive Education - Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Indien
Varighed: 8 jun. 201610 jun. 2016


Konference2016 International Summit on RTI and Inclusive Education
ByCoimbatore, Tamil Nadu


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