DAY 4 OF GLOBAL ACTION WEEK FOR EDUCATION – Free, Public and inclusive education

GAWE2017 Day 4

The Global Action Week for Education #GAWE2017   is about holding everyone accountable for providing education that is free, public and inclusive.

So: Is the education that I provide free, public and inclusive? 
I have been working in public education for all of my years as an educator – other than this year. I spent most years at a German Gymnasium – the school for students who achieve highest on the cognitive level. I have to be honest: None of the public schools I worked in were truly inclusive schools.
At the Global Education and Skills Forum last month one sentence hit me: “The higher we go on the education ladder, the less inclusive we live.” If I look at my biography it is obvious that this is true. At the age of ten, I was told to go to Gymnasium … and lost contact to almost everyone who wasn’t. My friends became those who had been selected for their cognitive abilities, or their ability to cope with school tasks. Throughout the course of the school years, students who couldn’t continue to cope left our school for other school types. At uni, I mostly lost contact with those that didn’t go to university. It’s my mistake, I did not to stay in touch. But it is also a systemic problem: We are sorting humans until we all live in exclusive bubbles. 
Now, I teach in a private school which is comprehensive and more inclusive than other schools I taught in. Here, our students and their parents pay a fee. I’m glad my school has been recognized for their work at World Downs-Syndrome-Day and employs social workers, pedagogic assistants and teachers to support all students, but I believe we should all work for an education system that gives everyone better access to personalized and inclusive learning, without school fees. I dream of schools that have at least a few hours each week, assigned to projects in which students work collaboratively, no matter what their “ability” is, and where everyone finds their option to contribute. 
How far away are we? How can we all contribute to achieving real inclusion?