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ICE Debates Ways to Promote Inclusive Education

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The 48th International Conference on Education (ICE) opened on Tuesday with an aim to promote inclusive education and pool efforts to reduce the number of school dropouts.

The four-day conference, sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has drawn some 1,500 delegates, including government ministers, experts, representatives of NGOs and UN agencies.

"Children with disabilities and children from marginalized groups (migrants, street children, HIV/AIDS orphans) are still today largely excluded from the school system," UNESCO said in a statement.

The conference, under the theme "Inclusive Education: the Way of the Future," aims to share experience regarding inclusive education and examine the role of governments in implementing policies promoting inclusion, it said.

According to UNESCO figures, 75 million children around the world still do not have access to education.

Even among those who do have access to school, a substantial number may never reach the educational level required for them to succeed professionally, lt said.

Moreover, some 650 million people are estimated to be deprived of their rights to education because of physical or mental disabilities, or their special learning needs.

The ICE, an international forum for exchange among ministers of education, has been held regularly since 1934. The previous session, held in 2004, explored the theme "Quality education for all young people."

(Xinhua News Agency November 26, 2008)