Australia has signed several international treaties that protect human rights in regard to age, race, sex, pregnancy, marital status and disability. For example, under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Australia agreed to ensure that all children can access education and training to assist them to achieve their full potential.
Many human rights are protected by Australian law. For example, the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) says that people are entitled to live and work in our communities without experiencing discrimination because they have a disability.
The DDA aims to:
- Eliminate discrimination on the grounds of disability in all areas, including education
- Ensure that people with disability have the right to equality before the law
- Develop community understanding that people with disability have the same fundamental rights as other Australians.
The DDA overrides all State and Territory legislation.
The Disability Standards for Education 2005 clarify how the Disability Discrimination Act applies to education. The Disability Standards for Education seek to:
- Eliminate, as far as possible, discrimination against students because they or their associates have a disability
- Uphold the rights of students or their associates with disability
- Ensure that students with disability can access and participate in education on the same basis as students without disability.
The Disability Standards for Education require educators, students, parents and other associates to work together so that students with disability can participate in education. Consultation helps education providers to understand the needs of the individual student so they can:
- Give the student with disability opportunities and choices which are comparable to other students' opportunities and choices
- Identify and address barriers to learning for the student with disability, including people's attitudes and expectations.
Video : Social Inclusion
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Inclusive education means that every student, with or without disability, is welcomed into the school community. Here is what some students and teachers had to say about social inclusion.
© Social Inc. Used with permission.
Hayley catches up
Hayley is now a healthy Year 8 girl, but for many years she was in and out of hospital, and there were long periods when treatments interfered with her ability to participate in learning. As a result, there are gaps in Hayley’s knowledge, which are becoming apparent as she engages with more complex tasks. The Disability Standards for Education apply to Hayley because she is having learning difficulties as a result of a previous medical condition. The school discusses this with Hayley and her parents and together they plan for Hayley to have educational support to assist her where gaps in learning have been identified.
The Disability Standards for Education apply to:
- All types of schools, including special schools
- Government and non-government education settings
- All levels of education, from early childhood to university and to all kinds of adult education
- All types of educational activities, including excursions and school sport
- Students who may not be eligible for additional funding.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 are Australian laws which protect the rights of students with disability. These laws aim to eliminate discrimination against people with disability, and uphold the rights of students with disability to access education. They apply to all education providers.