HEART Topic Guide - Inclusive learning


This HEART Topic Guide brings together evidence on what works in inclusive learning for children aged 3 to 12 years with disabilities and/or difficulties in learning in low and middle income countries, and explores the role of inclusive approaches in contributing to inclusive societies and ultimately inclusive growth.

The Topic Guide addresses some of the contested and debated issues around terminology, labelling, and segregated, integrated and inclusive schooling; reviews the limited evidence that exists from low and middle income countries around the outcomes of inclusive learning; and identifies future research directions.

The evidence underpinning inclusive learning in low and middle income countries is weak and fragmented. In the absence of systematic reviews of high quality, the body of evidence cited here includes empirical studies and conceptual research considered to be of good quality. The evidence is summarised for each section, and includes a range of sources from UN agencies, international non-governmental organisations and academic studies.

Although the primary focus of the Topic Guide is on inclusive learning for children who are at risk of failure and educational exclusion due to their disability or their difficulties in learning, the approaches and evidence discussed have the potential to benefit the learning of children from all disadvantaged or marginalised areas or groups, such as children from remote or nomadic populations, children living in conflict-affected states, malnourished children, and children from linguistic, ethnic or cultural minorities. It has often been said that by meeting the needs of children with disabilities, the needs of all children will be met.


Howgego, C.; Miles, S.; Myers, J. HEART Topic Guide - Inclusive learning. (2014) 59 pp.

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