Reaffirming the right to education of every individual, as enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and renewing the pledge made by the world community at the 1990 World Conference on Education for All to ensure that right for all regardless of individual differences, Recalling the several United Nations declarations culminating in the 1993 United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, which urges States to ensure that the education of persons with disabilities is an integral part of the education system, Noting with satisfaction the increased involvement of governments, advocacy groups, community and parent groups, and in particular organizations of persons with disabilities, in seeking to improve access to education for the majority of those with special needs still unreached; and recognizing as evidence of this involvement the active participation of high level representatives of numerous governments, specialized agencies and intergovernmental organizations in this World Conference,
1. We, the delegates of the World Conference on Special Needs Education representing 92 governments and 25 international organizations, assembled here in Salamanca, Spain from 7-10 June 1994, hereby reaffirm our commitment to Education for All, recognizing the necessity and urgency of providing education for children, youth and adults with special educational needs within the regular education system, and further hereby endorse the Framework for Action on Special Needs Education, that governments and organizations may be guided by the spirit of its provisions and recommendations .
2. We believe and proclaim that:
– every child has a fundamental right to education, and must be given the opportunity to achieve and maintain an acceptable level of learning,
– every child has unique characteristics, interests, abilities and learning needs,
– education systems should be designed and educational programmes implemented to take into account the wide diversity of these characteristics and needs,
– those with special educational needs must have access to regular schools which should accommodate them within a child-centered pedagogy capable of meeting these needs,
– regular schools with this inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combatting discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society, and achieving education for all; moreover, they provide an effective education to the majority of children and improve the efficiency and ultimately the cost-effectiveness of the entire education system.
3. We call upon all governments and urge them to:
– give the highest policy and budgetary priority to improve their education systems to enable them to include all children regardless of individual differences or difficulties,
– adopt as a matter of law or policy the principle of inclusive education, enrolling all children in regular schools, unless there are compelling reasons for doing otherwise,
– develop demonstration projects and encourage exchanges with countries having experience with inclusive schools,
– establish decentralized and participatory mechanisms for planning, monitoring and evaluating educational provision for children and adults with special educational needs,
– encourage and facilitate the participation of parents, communities, and organizations of persons with disabilities in the planning and decision making processes concerning provision for special educational needs,
– invest greater effort in early identification and intervention strategies, as well as in vocational educational aspects of inclusive education,
– ensure that, in the context of a systemic change, teacher education programmes, both pre-service and in-service, address the provision of special needs education in inclusive schools.
4. We also call upon the international community; in particular we call upon:
– governments with international cooperation programmes and international funding agencies, especially the sponsors of the World Conference on Education for All, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, and the World Bank:
– to endorse the approach of inclusive schooling and to support the development of special needs education as an integral part of all education programmes;
– the United Nations and its specialized agencies, in particular ILO, WHO, UNESCO, and UNICEF:
– to strengthen their inputs for technical co-operation, as well as to reinforce their co-operation and networking for more efficient support to the expanded and integrated provision of special needs education;
– non-governmental organizations involved in country programming and service delivery:
– to strengthen their collaboration with the official national bodies and to intensify their growing involvement in planning, implementation and evaluation of inclusive provision for special educational needs;
– UNESCO, as the United Nations agency for education:
– to ensure that special needs education forms part of every discussion dealing with education for all in various forums,
– to mobilize the support of organizations of the teaching profession in matters related to enhancing teacher education as regards provision for special educational needs,
– to stimulate the academic community to strengthen research, networking and to establish regional centers of information and documentation; also, to serve as a clearing house for such activities, and for disseminating the specific results and progress achieved at country level in pursuance of this Statement,
– to mobilize funds through the creation within its next Medium Term Plan (1996-2002) of an expanded programme for inclusive schools and community support programmes, which would enable the launching of pilot projects that showcase new approaches for dissemination, and to develop indicators concerning the need for and provision of special needs education.
5. Finally, we express our warm appreciation to the Government of Spain and to UNESCO for the organization of the Conference, and we urge them to make every effort to bring this Statement and the accompanying Framework for Action to the attention of the world community, especially at such important forums as the World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995) and the World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995).
Adopted by acclamation, Salamanca, Spain 1994