Jean-Paul Gaultier, Hillary Clinton, Shakira, Pele, Yalitza Aparicio and others join in calling for more inclusive education

High-profile influencers from around the world joined the GEM Report in calling for more inclusive education systems. The 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report showed that exclusion in education had deepened during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, about  40% of low and lower-middle income countries had not supported disadvantaged learners during school shutdowns. Celebrities, all with strong personal reasons for giving their support, joined the Report’s calls for countries to focus on those left behind, as schools reopen after the COVID-19 shut-downs.

Colombian superstar Shakira tweeted:

Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton tweeted:

“Those of you who know me well, know I care deeply about the education of our youth. But this education is not always easy to access, and this is why I became a UNESCO ambassador. Even before schools shut due to the virus, many were already left without access to proper education. So I am asking you to read and share the GEM Report from UNESCO, which calls for schools to be more inclusive after this global shutdown,” said football legend, Pele.

Even before the pandemic, the Report shows that persistent discrimination holds many students back from achieving their full potential. Celebrities from India, including Jassie Gill and Usha Jadhav, joined the call for change. Jadhav, who starred in Bollywood film Dhag, as a mother fighting for her son trying to break free of his caste status, provided a video message of support, calling for countries to “embrace and promote inclusion across education globally.”

Where people come from, the language they speak and their culture can hold back their education chances. The Report found that 10-year old students in middle- and high-income countries who were taught in a language other than their mother tongue typically scored a third lower than native speakers. Actresses from Latin America Patricia Velasquez and Yalitza Aparicio provided video messages of support on the issue. I am asking for countries to take a hard look at their education policies and make sure that they reflect the diversity of our multicultural societies,” said Aparicio. “They should begin their assessment on the basis that all learners should be welcomed as equals into the classroom.”

Ensuring all children can go to school is not enough. Exclusion also happens inside school walls: one-third of 11- to 15-year-olds have been bullied in school. As well as children with disabilities, learners who identify as LGBTI are often made to feel like outsiders in school, which drove support from additional high-profile personalities, including Mexican American actress, singer, and songwriter, Sara Ramirez, and French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier.

The 2020 GEM Report shows that children with disabilities are two and half times more likely to never go to school than their peers. Many of those lending their voice were born with a disability, including several television personalities from the UK, such as Adam Pearson, Lucy Edwards, Bryony May Williams, Lee Ridley and Samantha Renke. Paralympic medallist, Ade Adepitan, also spoke out:

Some were driven by the fact that one of their own children is living with a disability, including Chilean actress and model, Leonor Varela, whose son tragically passed away in 2018, and American actor, Christopher Gorham. Actress and comedian Sally Phillips asked:

The Report has ten recommendations for countries to move towards more inclusive systems, underlining the importance of countries’ celebrating diversity in education, rather than seeing it as a problem. Caecilie Liv Carlson, dance choreographer and performer also passionate about education lent her support to the calls for change. Australian-Indian film actress Pallavi Sharda said:


This entry was posted in curriculum, Inclusion, Language, legal rights, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Jean-Paul Gaultier, Hillary Clinton, Shakira, Pele, Yalitza Aparicio and others join in calling for more inclusive education

  1. Pingback: Jean-Paul Gaultier, Hillary Clinton, Shakira, Pele, Yalitza Aparicio and others join in calling for more inclusive education | The New York Press News Agency

  2. Gopal Krishna Agarwal says:

    Very excellent report we are great full to UNESCO for highlights the issue of early childhood education and importance for inclusive education our state of Uttar Pradesh in India is going to start pre primary education as apart of formal education 🙏🙏


  3. Miriam Kingston says:

    Re Laws on inclusion which DO focus on students with disabilities

    Arrangements for delivery of the right to inclusive education for people with disabilities requires that national legislative frameworks for inclusion are carefully scrutinised to ensure that discriminatory practices are not embedded, albeit disguised, within the legislation itself.

    An example of such practice can be clearly seen in Section 2 of the Irish Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004. While ‘inclusion’ is not defined within the Act, Section 2 provides as follows:

    “2. A child with special educational needs shall be educated in an inclusive environment with children who do not have such needs unless the nature or degree of those needs of the child is such that to do so would be inconsistent with—

    (a) the best interests of the child as determined in accordance with any assessment carried out under this Act, or

    (b) the effective provision of education for children with whom the child is to be educated.”

    The section when closely analysed provides that a student is entitled to inclusive education on condition that the provision of education is deemed to be in the best interests of the student. Furthermore the provision of such education must not interfere with the education of other non-disabled students.

    A similar ‘get out clause’ is located in the provisions of the Irish Equal Status Act 2000, (as amended by the Equality Act 2004), which promotes equality
    and prohibits discrimination, harassment and related behaviour in connection with the provision of services, property and other opportunities to which the public generally or a section of the public has access. While the provisions of the Act are underpinned by a presumption of mainstreaming for disabled students, s 7 of the Act provides that a school will be exempt from the requirement to provide service to a disabled student only to the extent that to do so would (because of the students’ disability) have a seriously detrimental effect on the provision of service to other students or would make it impossible to provide services to other students.

    In this context it is clear that the entitlement to inclusive education is circumscribed by provisions which reference disabled students’ entitlement to inclusive education to the education of other students. Of particular note however, is the fact that disabled students’ entitlement to inclusive education is not referenced to the education of their non-disabled peers.

    It follows that many policies conceived within the existing legislative framework, lay the basis for a ‘dressed up’ version of traditional practices which endorse and promote the placement and treatment of students perceived to be difficult to segregated school settings, separate ‘pull out’ support programmes etc where medical model thinking continues to be reinforced.

    Kingston, Miriam (2006) Restricted Recognition: Teachers in the Irish Education System – A Barrier to Inclusive Education? The Disability Archive at


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