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.
You may hear the two terms inclusion and integration in the education system concerning the classroom. Therefore, what exactly do we mean by inclusion and integration? And 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 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 while integration is the process in which students with special needs are absorbed into the mainstream education.
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, it does not encourage the students to fit into the mainstream education. On the contrary, the school changes to accommodate the needs of all. Therefore, it accepts the diversity of students and uses different techniques to benefit every student. Furthermore, 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.
What is Integration?
Integration is the process in which students with special needs are absorbed into the mainstream education. Therefore, 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.
What is the Difference Between Inclusion and Integration?
Inclusion is the process of educating the children in a way that it benefits all the children as it entails the clear participation of all the children in the classroom. Integration, on the other hand, is the process in which children with special needs are absorbed into the mainstream education system. Furthermore, the aim of the inclusion is not to fit the children to the mainstream education but to improve the overall participation of the students in the classroom activities. However, integration process aims to fit in the students with special needs to the mainstream education.
Inclusion focuses on all students in the classroom whereas integration focuses on the students with special needs in the classroom. In order to assist the education procedure of the students, in inclusion, the school system undergoes change while in integration, it is the subject matter which undergoes change according to the needs of the students with special needs.
Summary – Inclusion vs Integration
Inclusion and Integration are two terms with concern to education. The 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. Both these methodologies are necessary for providing effective education to diverse children in the world.
1. “Schoolgirls in Bamozai” by Capt. John Severns, U.S. Air Force – Own work. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia