Inclusion: A Non-Negotiable Right, the seminar that brought a hundred people to ISEC

On 13 May, the Seminar Inclusion: A Non-Negotiable Right took place, promoted by the ISEC Lisboa School of Education and Human Development. A day entirely dedicated to debates, conferences and project presentations with the intention of promoting a more effective and more humanized path regarding the theme of inclusion in the educational system, both in schools and in society, which must also be educational and inclusive.

The morning panel was initiated by the director of the School of Education and Human Development (EEHD), Professor Rui Fonseca, representing the President of ISEC Lisboa, Professor Cristina Ventura, and Professor Patrícia Pacheco, Postgraduate Coordinator Special Education – cognitive-motor domain. The director of EEDH addressed the issue of social exclusion in various fields, pointing out that “in our daily lives, the need for inclusion that we most encounter is probably social inclusion or the lack of it. Portugal, within the framework of the European Union, has still serious problems of social inclusion to be resolved, which become more visible in periods of economic difficulties. Just turn on the television, the radio, the computer, the smartphone and you are faced with news of serious situations of social exclusion, exclusion from access to housing, territorial exclusion, exclusion from access to healthcare, exclusion from access to the job market, exclusion from access to cultural practices”, he began by highlighting.

This was followed by David Rodrigues, member of the National Education Council, who focused his speech on the theme of Human Rights and the predominant role of schools in disseminating values such as inclusion. Professor David Rodrigues stated that "the greatest resource for inclusion is school resources, with four fundamental values for strengthening inclusive education in educational establishments: confidence in schools, flexibility, collegiality and resources.” The school is the place that can contribute the most to inclusion because "it is therein that these ideas are fostered and it is therein that all the necessary resources reside, so that they can be disseminated throughout the community", also pointing out that "inclusion is critical so that diversity does not constitute an obstacle, an argument against equity and human rights”. “Digital exclusion is still a preponderant form of exclusion that affects thousands of Portuguese people”, he further highlighted.

Seminário de Inclusão - debate

The programme was followed by a round table, moderated by Nelson Santos, teacher at ISEC Lisboa, where Fátima Paulo, from the Contramão Association, Jorge Falcato, from the Centro de Vida Independente and José Morgado, from ISPA – Instituto Universitário de Ciências Psicológicas, Sociais e da Vida, debated the topic Inclusion: An Expanded Debate. Under discussion was the issue of accessibility and the conclusion of how this is a form of social inclusion that is still far below expectations.

At the same time, with a round table, there were brief presentations of projects directly linked to inclusive education. Paula Caniça Guerra, from Associação de Paralisia Cerebral de Lisboa, presented The project Horse and I… Together Setting Off to Discovery! and Eduardo Dinis, from Crinabel, the theme Sport as a Means of Inclusion.

Seminário de Inclusão - mesa redonda moderada por Nelson Santos

The afternoon programme began with a round table, moderated by Marco Ferreira, teacher at ISEC Lisboa, where Jorge Nascimento, Director of the Padre Bartolomeu Gusmão School Group, Maria Santa-Clara Barbas, from the Escola Superior de Educação de Santarém and Cristina Espadinha from the NEE Universidade de Lisboa debated the topic - School…and Then? Several Paths, in the Hélder Pita Auditorium. At the same time in room B12 Bruno Rodrigues and Mara Pacheco from VO´ARTE/CiM - Companhia de Dança presented the Geração SOMA project, followed by Andreia Martins and Paulinho Oliveira, from the Associação Museu das Emoções, who introduced the project - Take the Emotions Out of the Suitcase.

Conferência dada por Domingos Fernandes

The agenda continued with a conference given by Professor Domingos Fernandes, President of the National Education Council. Proudly, in a humanized speech, sharing very personal experiences, Professor Domingos Fernandes highlighted the need for greater democratization of the educational system and the fact that he considers that “teachers must also be trained in the institutions where they are placed” and that this must be a continuous procedure. “The training of teachers and educators has to be deeply rethought”, he said vehemently, despite the fact that, in his opinion, Portugal, which even had a cultural delay of decades as a result of having had a dictatorship regime, is seen as a positive example with regard to education in the European panorama. “We must always have our heads above the fog of the days”, appealing to the practice of developing a vision that projects the future instead of just meeting the needs of the present, in an allusion to the title of the famous 1947 novel by the French writer Boris Vian, to warn for the danger of losing or letting to fade, actions that are not firmly projected, as a solid bridge that is constantly being built, which may serve the future of the collective.

The closing session of this seminar was in charge of Vítor Cruz, University Professor at FMH, who gave a summary of the day, which was entirely dedicated to inclusion in education, with almost a hundred participants, making clear the importance of this topic. This seminar was designed by the Chair "The City that Educates and Transforms", led by ISEC Lisboa and was promoted by the School of Education and Human Development and organized by the Coordinator of the Postgraduate Course in Special Education: Cognitive and Motor Domain and by the respective teachers of the scientific and organizing committee.