Difference Between Inclusion and Integration

Key Difference – Inclusion vs Integration
 

You may have heard of the two terms inclusion and integration being used in the education system concerning the classroom.  What exactly do we mean by inclusion and integration? Are these interchangeable or do they differ from one another? These are some of the myriads of questions that we face as we hear the two terms being used in educational discourses. First let us define these words. Inclusion is the process of educating children in such a way so that it benefits all students and entails a clear participation. Integration is the process in which students with special needs are absorbed into the mainstream education. The key difference between inclusion and integration is that, in integration, the special need child is absorbed into the mainstream education but, in inclusion, this does not take place.

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is the process of educating children in such a way so that it benefits all students and entails a clear participation as well. Hence, it focuses not only on students with special needs but others as well. This is why the inclusive approach is considered as ‘education for all’. In this approach, the students are not encouraged to fit into the mainstream education. On the contrary, the school changes to accommodate the needs of all. It accepts the diversity of students and use different techniques to benefit every student. Now in the modern education system, inclusion is considered as the best option as it discards labels and barriers that hold back students and encourage full participation.

Difference Between Inclusion and Integration

What is Integration?

Integration is the process in which students with special needs are absorbed into the mainstream education. In this approach to education, the emphasis is on fitting into the mainstream education. Although the approach aims at catering to the needs of the students with special needs, this can increase labeling of students due to pre-existing structures and attitudes. This can hinder the development of the child’s education.

In integration, different techniques, services and adaptation methods are used. Mostly these are very formal structures that aim to assist the student to adapt or fit into the mainstream education. As you can see, integration is very much different from inclusion. Now in the education discourse, experts believe that the benefits of inclusion in education are much greater in comparison to integration in education.

Key Difference - Inclusion vs Integration

What is the difference between Inclusion and Integration?

Definitions of Inclusion and Integration:

Inclusion: Inclusion is the process of educating children in such a way so that it benefits all students and entails a clear participation.

Integration: Integration is the process in which students with special needs are absorbed into the mainstream education.

Characteristics of Inclusion and Integration:

Mainstream Education:

Inclusion: In inclusion, the focus is not on fitting into the mainstream education, but improving participation of all students.

Integration: Through an integrated approach, the students with special needs have to fit into mainstream education.

Focus:

Inclusion: Inclusion focuses on all students.

Integration: Integration focuses on students with special needs.

Change:

Inclusion: To accommodate student needs the school undergoes change.

Integration: The accommodate the child the subject is changed.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Schoolgirls in Bamozai” by Capt. John Severns, U.S. Air Force – Own work. [Public Domain] via Commons

2. “Harmony Day (5475651018)” by DIAC images – Harmony DayUploaded by russavia. [CC BY 2.0] via Commons