How Does Education Promote Inclusivity And Acceptance?
Since 2018, January 24 has been proclaimed the International Day of Education in honor of its power to maintain peace and support the development of our societies. When it is accessible to all, education can help governments overcome obstacles, such as gender inequality and class distinction. Despite its importance, as many as 250 million children are currently not attending schools of any kind, while 763 million adults are illiterate.
This year’s International Day of Education, the sixth in order, is dedicated to “learning for lasting peace,” as a surge in discrimination, racism, and hate speech has permeated our lives online and offline. The United Nations trusts that a solution to this problem lies in prioritizing education to promote values such as peace and acceptance. In this article, we discuss the ways in which accessible and equitable education can help foster societies that are more inclusive and accepting of diversity.
5 Ways Education Supports Acceptance And Inclusivity
1. Fostering Cultural Competence
When education is accessible to all, children from all backgrounds, religions, and cultures find themselves coexisting. But even when there isn’t a large cultural variety in a classroom, teachers can still utilize multicultural material to introduce diverse perspectives and cultures. As children become exposed to these diverse stimuli from an early age, they develop a sense of cultural competence as well as a greater understanding and appreciation of people with different backgrounds. As a result, they will be less likely to succumb to prejudice and racism later on in their lives.
2. Developing Critical Thinking Skills
The basis of a high-quality education system is to teach children how to develop and use their critical thinking skills. This involves not taking information at face value but rather evaluating it, questioning assumptions, not jumping to conclusions without examining arguments, and more. A lack of these skills is usually what helps spread misinformation and hate speech online and offline. Critical thinking is the most potent shield we can arm children with to make sure that they know how to recognize and deal with fake news and discriminatory narratives.
3. Introducing Social Justice Education
Social justice education is an approach that doesn’t focus as much on academic advancement but rather on promoting awareness and understanding of social justice matters. It emphasizes the ideals of equality, inclusivity, and fairness, thus ensuring that students are vigilant when it comes to injustice, discrimination, systemic bias, and other phenomena present in our society. It can also act as an early form of activism, turning students into advocates for marginalized voices and more active members of their community. This way, they become the positive change we need to overcome prejudice and inequality.
4. Promoting Dialogue And Communication
Another thing that inclusive education can do for children is create a safe space where open communication and dialogue can take place. By holding structured and respectful conversations in the educational environment, children can learn how to effectively communicate and support their opinions with arguments but also how to be active listeners and see things from another person’s point of view. By developing these skills early on, children are more likely to grow into good communicators who practice tolerance and acceptance in their everyday lives.
5. Teaching Emotional Intelligence
Many of the skills and virtues we have mentioned in this article play into the field of emotional intelligence, which is often not given as much attention as academic excellence and logical intelligence. However, for the world to be a better place for future generations, people need more than a high IQ and a ton of knowledge. They need to have empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, and advanced social skills to navigate the complexities of the modern world. Giving emotional intelligence the focus it deserves is a crucial preventative measure against everything holding us back from achieving equality and inclusion.
Breaking Down Inequalities With Education
When states and governments make an effort to ensure that education is accessible to all, they also take serious steps toward deconstructing systems that promote inequality. They form strong foundations of acceptance, understanding, and inclusivity that children carry with them as they grow up and become active members of their communities. In honor of this year’s International Day of Education, we urge that education be upgraded at all levels, i.e., by training teachers, updating methodologies and learning materials, and ensuring that schools are safe environments for all children.