Join the online consultation for the 2020 GEM Report on inclusion and education

Following previous GEM reports on education and the other SDGs (2016), accountability (2017/8), and migration and displacement (2019), the 2020 GEM Report will focus on inclusion. An online consultation opened this morning for the Report and will run for eight weeks. We would like to invite you to take part.

Echoing the overall orientation in the SDGs to “leave no one behind”, the 2020 GEM Report will take an in-depth look at inclusion and education, showing the barriers faced by the most vulnerable, including people with disabilities.

An initial concept note for the Report shows that, by analysing policies the world over, the research will aim to present evidence on the different elements of education systems that can support inclusion, such as laws and policies, governance and finance, curricular and learning materials, teachers, school infrastructure, school selection and parental and community views. A range of indicators will be examined for their effectiveness in measuring inclusion in education.

The 2020 Report will ask the following questions:

  1. What are the key policy solutions for each of the elements of inclusive education to ensure the achievement of SDG 4?
  2. How can common obstacles to the implementation of such inclusive education policies be anticipated and overcome?
  3. What arrangements are needed to coordinate among government sectors, tiers of government and with other stakeholders to overcome overlapping dimensions of exclusion?
  4. How do education systems monitor exclusion in education (with regard both to individual education attainment or success and to systemic factors) and how can current practices be improved? To what extent systems monitor exclusion from the learning process for learners who are in schools?
  5. What channels of financing are used for inclusive education policies around the world? How are they monitored and how do they affect local practice?

The team would like to invite you to:

  • Provide substantive feedback to the proposed lines of research
  • Recommend interesting examples of policies and practices from around the world that highlight how inclusive education policies look like in different countries and how inclusive education is implemented in schools and classrooms
  • Recommend potential areas of new research drawing on already established or previously unexplored sources of quantitative and qualitative data

1The views of anyone with an interest in education and development – whether governments, non-government organizations, donors, researchers, practitioners, parents and students – are most welcome. Please read the concept note and contribute to this online consultation before the end of September.

Post your contributions as comments (below) to this blog, providing web links to research reports, policy papers, evaluations, and other documents or datasets that you think would be useful for the Report team.

If you would rather email your comments or attach documents or data that you would like to share with the GEM Report team, please send them directly to with ‘2020 Report Consultation’ as a subject heading.



    1. Thank you Cohen. I hope you dont mind if we publish this direct on the consultation page as well.

      1. No problem, it is a publicly funded and accessible dossier, so you can post it wherever you want 🙂

  1. Inclusive education is directly related with universalization. Thus, the more relevant challenge today is related with education for all. Education for rich but for poor people, too. In other words, we are talking about elites. High quality and recognition institutions on one hand, and the rest on the other one. Inclusion should be associated with universalization of high quality. That means no elite institutions. No elites of teachers. No elites of students. No elites of citizens. Inclusion means democracy. How is the effect of rankings on elitization? How bad is the effect of rankings on inclusiveness? To study the impact of rankings on inclusiveness could be a matter of fact. In principle, rankings are a gigant invisible barrier for inclusion and equity.
    “Leave no one behind” means all at the very front. Equal opportunities for everybody.
    A simple example of social stratification consolidated by the higher education system can be found in a Colombian familiar situation: An Industrial Engineer from the top elite private university is prepared to be the manager of the company, the Industrial Engineer from the top elite public university is educated to be the manager of the plant, and the Industrial Enginner from the less reputation university is prepared to be the plant engineer.
    On the other hand, rankings are pushing policies in many countries, to look for the positioning of “at least” one o their universities in the Shanghai Ranking (that means economic resources extremely concentrated on very few institutions, usually at the capital cities). Efforts are concentrated on one or only few universities, increase elitization quickly and exclusion increase, too.
    Consequently, I suggest to evaluate the impact on equity and inclusion generated by the rankings globally promoted with intensity along the current century.

  2. I’m teacher from Slovenia with almost 40 years of teaching on different levels of school programs.
    I have many educations and among them is also Social Pedagogy. From view of this specially sensitive sicentific branch for optimal child self-development I’ve composed some improvements to existing UNESCO Concept of inclusiion in National School Systems which I think are necessary for better understanding how teachers affect different children in classrooms and cause various positive and negative effects to their development.
    In Slovenia progress toward inclussion actually didn’t happen yet although there are some trials from expert Institution for Education. Slovene Ministary of Education still tends toward exclusive education and graduate pressure on learners with more severe punnishing unwanted behaviors and conflicts in schools without real understanding what’s the cause of such unwanted behaviors and conflicts. The procedures for excluding learners are progressing through legislation to faster elimination of disturbing learners from educational process. So we can say that actual Slovene School System is highly exclusive in comparison to definition of inclusive “child-centred” eduction System (UNESCO 2005, p. 27) where “Seeing education from the inclucive lens implies a shift from seeing the child as a problem to seeing the education system as the problem that can be solved through inclusive approaches”. Inclusive shift in Slovenia will not happen if government will proceed with exclusive politics. Maybe a warm admonition to Slovene Government for right inclusive course could be welcome.


    From aspect of UNESCO documents 1990-2020 as the platform for further development of Inclusive National School Systems (NSS), by my oppinion some improvements and upgrades could be added which could make NSS more “adapted” to children optimal self-development.
    Basic platform concerning mentioned UNESCO documents for inclusive education is very well done, but nothing is so good that can’t be better. Child self-development can be understood more clear and teachers’ behavioral effects in classrooms less problematic and harming through punnishing and rewarding of unwanted or wanted learners behaviors if understanding how basically Living beings function would be achieved. Psychology, Neurosicence and Cognitive Science etc. are not providing enough knowledge for full understanding how basically Living beings function. I’m proposing MSA approcah which could offer wider knowledge about curriculum organization and optimized realization of school programs in classrooms and thus optimized effects on child self-development.
    Practice of classical productivity school programs and of course practice in classrooms proves that teacher behavior can lead into stress and psychical and/or psychosomatic problems of learners. More or less severe conflicts can take place in classrooms. Learners are different by their biological (genetical) origins and that can’t be changed. But learning environments and teacher’s actions can be improved to the level that can enable optimal development of biological (genetical) learners potentials and prevent negative developmental effects.
    Although direction of inclusive changes provided by UNESCO are very good and promise critical changes in National School Systems i think that some optional changes should be done with special emphasize to :
    1. New Glossary (UNESCO 1990 and UNESCO 2017) should introduce new terms and redifine some already established terms for better understanding of basic processing of school programs and consequently inclusive processing in classrooms.
    2. MSA aprrocah should be introduced for better clarification of Concepts, Policy statements, Structures and systems, Inclusive practices…
    3. New fundamentals for functioning of human organism (and nervous system) should be used with improved understanding how teachers and learners basically function as Living beings so that understanding of basic relationship between teachers and learners can be cleared up including understanding of what kind of developmental effects different teacher’s behavior produce on different learners.


    1. Brief overview of actual problems in National School Systems and possible solutions for upgrading classical (integrative) school systems into inclusive.
    2. Glossary. Terminological improvement. Terms like learning, education, self-regulation, self-development, control, cooperation, conflicts… could be defined in MSA manner.
    3. Problematic “Black box” teachers’ approcah in classrooms with punnishments and rewards has to be replaced with improved MSA understanding how human (child) organism function and what kind of consequences can teachers’ expect while applying different behaviors on learners.
    4. MSA aprrocah to curriculum understanding as the whole approach to creating optimal learning environments for more effective realization of educational plans in the direction of inclusion. Partial scientific disciplinary subjects or interdisciplinary understanding of curriculum has to be improved.
    5. Higher and long term goals in curriculum has to be directed into support of optimal self-development of individual learners and their potentials as basis for later optimal participation in inclusive society.
    6. Concrete solutions of slow introducing inclusive strategy into classical productivity NSS will be proposed.
    7. Replacement of factography in school curriculum with more usefull Life knowledge will be proposed.

    Brief explanation of basic points :
    1. Short Overwiev of actual problems in National School systems :
    • Productivity. Problem of “transffering” teachers knowledge on learners and efficiency of “school knowledge” in Life.
    • Scientific disciplinary and interdisciplinary based curriculum offers too narrow approcah to understanding “Great picture of the World and Universe”.
    • “Integration” and problem of “special needs”
    • Use of external motivation (fear, punishment, rewards…as behavioristic theoretical background) instead of internal motivation.
    • Not adequate understanding of teachers “feedback” to learners while teachers are “transmitting” knowledge.
    • Health problems of learners and other side effects of classical productivity schoolling. Beside too narrow intelectual developmental effects, also emotional and other psycho-physiological problems occur during educational process,
    • Lack of “Life-skills” in curriculum or “Life skills” are defined too narrow.
    • Lack of bases for Life-long learning. Life long learning needs MSA support with basic understanding what learning and educating are.
    • Factography in curriculum. Too much data and knowledge of no Life-use.
    • Etc.

    All points about actual problems in School Systems arround the World will be compared with inslusive concept of solving problems in School System.

    2. Glossary (terminology) improvement :
    • Some basic terms and definitions already accounted in documents (1990, 2017) needs modification in accordance to MSA approcah, and should be redefined in the course of inclusive paradigm. Some new terms should be added for better understanding what is practically happening in schools and classrooms and how to progress toward inclusion.
    • Optimized Glossary could also enable better understanding and inclusive managment of school curriculum and better inclusive management in classrooms.

    3. Problematic “Black box” approach in schools includes problem of understanding how Living beings (organisms) function and the way teacher affect children self-development. Central term is child self-development based on understanding how children psycho-physiologically and socialy function. MSA approach could enable more clear understanding how children (Living beings) function and thus offer possibility of producing more weihgty effects of teacher’s behavior on different children personalities. “Black box” approach can make damage to child self-development if teachers don’t understand what kind of effects are happening while acting on learners. Also new inclusive strategies for approaches to child optimal self-development will be proposed and teachers “White-box” effects will be presented.

    4. MSA aprroach (“white-box”) to curriculum understanding should be added as it could offer more wide and comprehensive understanding of psychological and sociological processes in Human interactions and relations to physical environment. The final goal is to make new form of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approcah as transformation of existing scientific school subject based curriculum which is used in most National School Systems.

    5. Higher and long term goals in curriculum should be integrated into global (wide) curriculum organization of knowledge which could integrate scientific disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge into more Life-sense use and offer new experience of Life-long learning. Also basic principles of Life-long learning on the basis of MSA approach will be presented.

    6. Inclusive strategies for improved organization of school curriculum will be presented that could enable slow introduction of “child-centred” principles into classical “teacher-centred” schooling in the course of differences that were defined in UNESCO 2005. We can say also that inclusive principles can be slowly introduced into productivity and segregating classical curriculum.

    7. Possible measures and efforts will be introduced to lower factography (too much unnecessary data) in school programs and replace unnecessary informations with more effective program knowledge to account children needs and consider internal motivation of learners.
    Productivity, categorization, segregation, stigmatization… as basic “Black-box” problems in actual National School Systems arround the World make school “knowledge” mostly inefficient as learners soon forget such a knowledge. School knowledge mostly does not become part of their life experiences and means of achieving their life goals and inclusive social participation. Participation as the result of classical productive schooling is more likely to be competitive.
    I hope that my oppinion which is based on my different educations and almost 40 years of work on different levels of schooling, numerous articles in Slovenia will help and thus contribution will be added to improvement of already good Guide for introducing inclusion and equity into National School Systems.

    Best wishes,
    Boris Hartman

  3. Professor Keith M Lewin, University of Sussex
    Two questions….

    1. Recommendation 2 GEMR 2020 advocates targeting financing on those left behind and especially the quarter of a billion who remain out of school. UIS Factsheet 56 and GEMR 2018 showed that over 50% of these Out of School Children (138 million out of 258 million)) are over 15 years old and of Upper Secondary age. They are the now the largest age group excluded from education by far.

    Should financing now shift to favour investment at upper secondary level to reduce these high levels of exclusion or should it be focussed on the smaller numbers excluded at lower levels? Should more borrowing be used to finance expansion at levels above primary or do other strategies need to be developed including more emphasis on domestic fiscal reform?

    2. COVID 19 is resulting from new forms of exclusion and exacerbating old inequalities.
    There is much debate about whether the best strategy is to rebuild existing systems or whether to take the opportunity to disrupt and redevelop education systems to address their existing shortcomings (see Is it better to regenerate in familiar forms or is it better to seek more radical innovation and if so why?

    1. The responses given to the Covid-19 outbreak and ensuing school closures have varied worldwide by country, school and even by teacher or student. In many countries, the focus has been on establishing or strengthening online platforms, with many people seeing in them as the future of education and an opportunity to ‘disrupt and redevelop’.

      This is questionable for two reasons. First, the priority should be the present of education: hundreds of millions today have no access not just to internet or devices but even to televisions and radios – and are therefore completely excluded from learning. Second, even online solutions are poor substitutes of learning in classrooms and they should be developed to complement learning in classrooms, not to replace it.

      As you put it in one of the recommendations in your article, systems should pay ‘more attention to resilience in the face of systemic risk’. The pandemic risk should not have been ignored – there was a 25% chance that it could happen in the space of a generation, and there were many signs it could break out, but they were ignored. This should not happen again: disaster risk reduction has to be part of education planning.

      There is no doubt that the ‘familiar forms’ of education have major weaknesses. They have been associated with teaching appropriate for industrial societies where everybody had to fit the system. It therefore depends on how education systems in ‘familiar form’ or ‘redeveloped’ are to be defined. Assuming that the Covid-19 disruption is temporary and that the ‘familiar form’ of a classroom cannot be changed, the only viable option is that of regeneration. The type of regeneration the 2020 GEM Report is advocating for, one where the system adapts to students and their needs.

      Covid-19 has changed the perception of many teachers who were confronted with the realities of their students and their living conditions. These conditions will worsen as economic recession is expected to deepen inequality and poverty for many. The response should be to build more inclusive systems to build a more resilient society.

      from Anna Cristina D’Addio (

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