Sunday, 3 April 2016


Remarkable report from Germany
United Nations: Thunderous applause for Germany's inclusive education system (Geneva, 1 April)

The UN Commission of the Rights of People with Disabilities praises Germany for developing an inclusive education system. When countries were examined by the Commission on implementing the UN's CRPD on March 26 and 27, something unprecedented happened...
An inclusion rate of 90 percent has been achieved with positive effect. Prejudice and discrimination have declined sharply through joint play and learning.... This has had a favorable effect on the labour market. All in all, this is a positive development.
But self-critical Germany admits that there is still much to do. 'Not all schools have their own accessible swimming pool. Additionally, they above all want that schools should ultimately have enough staff, premises and materials to promote remedial riding 'It should not be that only 50 percent of all schools can offer riding', said a representative of the national delegation.
A member of the UN Commission of Experts is particularly surprised: 'It is hard to believe that Germany was once behind in terms of inclusive education. At that time it could not be foreseen when Germany would create an even remotely inclusive education system'. The many measures take within German educational policies have borne fruit. The increase in financial resources and the decay of special schools have led to an education system that leaves even Canada and Finland pale with envy. 'Germany has built a thoroughly inclusive school system. The School for All has replaced a regressive and discriminatory education system and is now available to all children alike,' said the UN Commissioner excitedly. Not only is the equipment exemplary but the training of teachers and the quality of learning have show how serious the subject of inclusive education is taken in Germany.
In place of the intended 'final observations and observations' the Special Commission closed with a standing ovation.
(To avoid any doubt: this is an April Fool's hoax, its pointed exaggeration contrary to the shameful situation and shortcomings of inclusive education in Germany. April the First was used to show how the real 'inclusive education' is the complete opposite. Germany remains in the front rank of screening children with special needs and no constituent state has sufficiently developed the legal requirements for inclusive education)
Ho ho

Yes, this is a sardonic German Joke but a joke that could likely be repeated in many other countries. It might be stated differently from country to country according to the local sense of humour (and yesterday it probably was) but underneath lies the bitter reality that the situation referred to is just not funny. This is dark humour in the face of often insuperable hypocrisy, ignorance and oppression.

I would add only that in this context it may be a pity that even progressive forces, as I am sure the authors of this skit count themselves to be, set such a low bar for what inclusive education might aim for and achieve, through appropropriate and sufficient pedagogy and upbringing.

This is especially so in Germany because, perhaps more than in any other European country, the largely parent-driven movement for conductive pedagogy has hitched its star firmly and publicly to the inclusive-education wagon, with some remarkable experiences and achievement to show for this.

I do hope the the wider world of German inclusive education is aware of these developments. It could be awful (nightmare scenario) if the future sees, in the words of the old Italian proverb, the best becoming the enemy of the good.

The German original was first published a year ago, and seems well worth giving another run around the block. Thank you to conductor Krisztina Desits for sharing this hoax.


 (2015) UNO: Tobender Beifall für Deutschlands inklusives Schulsystem,, 1 April

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