Last week Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s representative to the United Nations Offices and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, spoke about how to be "inclusive" in education. Archbishop Tomasi noted that a truly inclusive education does not ignore differences or impose an ideology.
Addressing the 48th International Conference on Education sponsored by UNESCO, Archbishop Tomasi acknowledged that education must not discriminate against anyone and take into account individuals’ needs.
While saying that schools must promote "mutual respect and acceptance," the archbishop also warned against the concept of inclusiveness that is "an ideology that wears down all differences and loses sight of the situation of the concrete person, of her history and experiences."
A truly inclusive education, he said, is one that "combines transmission of knowledge and development of personality." This type of education seeks to answer the questions of "of life and history, of change and dissolution, of love and transcendence."
Archbishop Tomasi further counseled that children should be taught within the environment they live in, whether that be inner-city or rural. Educators should also "remain aware that they carry out their service in co-operation with parents, who are the first 'educational agency' and have the priority right and duty to educate their children," he said.