OECD Education Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies drawing on the work of the OECD Directorate for Education. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language (English or French) with a short summary available in the other.

English, French

Mapping policy approaches and practices for the inclusion of students with special education needs

Across OECD countries, there are various and diverse policy approaches in place to promote inclusive education systems for students with special education needs (SEN), understood as learning disabilities, physical impairments and disorders related to mental health. Analysing current policies in place across OECD countries and investigating advantages and disadvantages of diverse policy approaches for students with SEN is important when acknowledging non-negligible disparities in terms of enrolment, graduation, and employment outcomes for students with SEN across OECD countries. Overall, educational approaches to address students with SEN have historically shifted from placing students in special school settings to more mainstream education environments. However, differences still exist in the extent to which students are mainstreamed in schools with the rest of the students. Furthermore, education systems differ in the way they design and implement governance arrangements, resourcing systems, capacity-building, school-level interventions, and monitoring and evaluation of their policies in place to support students with SEN. Through a holistic approach, the following desk-based research adopts the analytical framework developed by the OECD’s Strength through Diversity project, Education for Inclusive Societies, to map policy approaches to include students with SEN in education systems and promote their well-being. The review also investigates how special education needs intersect with other forms of induced diversity in education systems and other emerging trends across countries to provide a more comprehensive analysis of the issues at stake.


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