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New Brunswick Wins Prestigious Award for Innovative Inclusive Education Policy

John McLaughlin (C), Deputy Minister of Education, New Brunswick, receiving the Zero Project Award for Policy 322.

The New Brunswick government has received an international award for the development and implementation of Policy 322, which entrenches inclusion as an official component of the province’s education system.

Presented at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, Austria, as part of the Zero Project 2016, the award recognizes New Brunswick’s ongoing commitment to inclusive education and the implementation of the new provincial policy in 2013.

“New Brunswick has been a leader not only in Canada but internationally in demonstrating a systemic approach to inclusive education”, states CACL Executive Vice-President Michael Bach. “There is good inclusive practice in many classrooms and schools around the world. But no other jurisdiction has been so clear-sighted and determined in law, policy and teacher support to make sure all students, regardless of disability, have the opportunity to learn together in a common learning environment, and to maximize potential along the unique developmental path each of us brings to the classroom. CACL offers our warmest congratulations to the province for this international honour.”

New Brunswick’s Policy 322 on Inclusive Education establishes the requirements to ensure that the province’s public schools are inclusive. It defines a system that supports all students in common learning environments, setting clear requirements for each educational authority. It also includes procedures for the development of personalized learning plans and inclusive graduation, as well as guidelines for any variation to the common learning environment. The policy was adopted in 2013.

“We at NBACL are proud that our government developed Policy 322,” says Shana Woodill, Manager of Inclusive Education at the New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL). “We couldn’t ask for better timing for the presentation of this honour, as February is National Inclusive Education Month in Canada.”

The Zero Project, an initiative of the Essl Foundation, focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally. Nominations were received from over 100 countries, and went through three levels of assessment that involved close to 150 experts in the field of inclusive education. New Brunswick’s Policy 322 was one of twelve worldwide to receive awards for innovative policy – the only award in Canada and one of two in North America.

New Brunswick’s Policy 322 is also featured in the Zero Project’s 2016 report, which showcases “the most innovative and effective solutions to problems that persons with disabilities face.”