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Education Support Program and Human Rights Initiative, Open Society Foundations

Course date

10 July - 14 July, 2017
Application for this course is closed.
Course Director(s): 

Alison Hillman

Human Rights Initiative, Open Society Foundations, Washington D.C., United States of America

Kate Lapham

Education Support Program, Open Society Foundations, Istanbul, Turkey
Course Faculty: 

Peter Dral

Milan Simecka Foundation in Bratislava, Slovakia

Majda Halilovic

The Atlantic Initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Adrian Marsh

Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Turkey

Daniel Mont

Inclusive Development Centre, University College London, UK

Ankie Vandekerckhove

The Centre for Innovations in the Early Years (VBJK), Gent, Belgium

This Summer Institute sub-course is designed for people working on advocacy and policy related to children’s right to education. The course will provide participants with opportunities to dissect, discuss, and debate inclusive education and discrimination in education with experts from the field.

At the completion of this course participants will be able to:

  • Frame advocacy for inclusive education in terms of both human rights and education quality;
  • Discuss the ways in which discrimination is constructed in different social and geographical contexts, including how existing categorization and data collection methods mitigate, monitor, and reinforce discrimination; and
  • Advocate for inclusive education policies and practices in ways that unite, rather than further divide, other marginalized groups.


Inclusive education systems provide a better-quality education for all children and are instrumental in creating more inclusive and open societies. Schools provide the context for a child’s first relationship with the world outside their families, enabling the development of social relationships and interactions. Respect and understanding grow when students of diverse abilities and backgrounds play, socialize, and learn together, while education that excludes and segregates perpetuates discrimination against traditionally marginalized groups. When education is more inclusive, so is civic participation, employment, and community life.

Inclusive education is too often understood as an approach to working with children with disabilities. At the same time, civil society groups and human rights advocates often pursue education reform in education systems in terms of discrimination experienced by a single race, ethnic group, or constituency. These approaches can be polarizing—advocacy focused on one specific group often inadvertently advances arguments that infringe on the rights of other groups. They also often mobilize support for existing discriminatory systems of special/segregated schools and assessment-based placements.

This course will frame education reform in terms of improved quality of schooling for all. It will focus on:

  • How specific constituencies can respond to unfounded populist fears of education reform as a zero-sum game, where one group’s gains come at another’s expense, and
  • How groups can refine their advocacy messages based on a broader understanding of inclusive education to more effectively catalyse change.

This course will take place at the CEU campus in Budapest, Hungary. It consists of pre-course reading and participation in one week (five days) of intensive, interactive classes led by faculty. All selected applicants will be fully funded to participate.