Abstract

It is estimated in the world today, that more than one billion people have a disability (World Health Organization, 2011). Many people with disabilities receive no education, and, of those who do, few receive an education on an equal basis with their non-disabled peers. In 2006, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD seeks to achieve equality for people with disabilities in all areas of life, including education. Article 24 of the CRPD specifically calls upon States Parties to “ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning” (United Nations, 2006, Art.24, para. 1). In this article, the authors provide an overview of the right to inclusive education under international law prior to the CRPD, followed by a discussion of Article 24 of the CRPD. The authors then discuss the role of inclusive education in Italy, which has long been regarded as a leader in the field of inclusive education. The authors conclude the article with a discussion of lessons learned from the Italian experience that may help other countries as they work towards implementation of Article 24's mandate of an inclusive education system.

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