As part of the preparation for the 2020 G20 Summit, the G20 Interfaith Forum Education Task Force, sponsored by the GHFP Research Institute, carried out a survey with over 50 interfaith-inspired organisations, conducted a literature review, and explored case studies with a view to understand better how these organisations and educators conceptualise inclusive education.

The result was an extremely rich vista in terms of how we might understand inclusive education, including:

  1. recognising and respecting the intrinsic worth of all children
  2. being available and accessible to learners of all backgrounds, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, caste, religion, ability, sexual orientation, economic status, language, or beliefs
  3. focusing on the whole child, and nurturing their holistic well-being, including the physical, social-emotional, intellectual, moral, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of development
  4. honouring students’ diversity, valuing their difference, and being responsive to their evolving needs in all aspects of learning, development and wellbeing
  5. creating safe and caring learning spaces and promoting cohesive learning communities
  6. cultivating students’ agency, and attending and responding to students’ voice respectfully, appreciating what everyone brings to the educational setting, and advocating solidarity
  7. empowering all learners to participate transformative collective actions in the community and beyond
  8. supporting all children to thrive in the face of increasing uncertainty

Such understandings have provided the basis for G20 Interfaith Forum Education Policy Recommendations aimed at meeting the challenges of social cohesion and collective well-being and flourishing during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accentuated an ongoing global need for social justice. In particular, it highlights wide gaps between ideals and practices pertaining to the shared goals of quality and equality in education. These gaps are evident across the most and least wealthy of countries. In particular, the pandemic has unmasked different forms of discrimination and exclusion, marginalising children and young people who are already disadvantaged.

Many religious/faith/spiritual organisations and communities have long played an important part in reaching out to the excluded, caring for the vulnerable, and encouraging equality in education. During the pandemic, these organisations and communities have been particularly active in identifying and helping those most at risk, engaging multiple stakeholders, and collaboratively making the provision of quality education more accessible.

By establishing an Education Task Force, the G20 Interfaith Forum (G20i) will be able to draw on insights from relevant faith-inspired practices to articulate a forward-looking vision of reimagined education. To this end, the Task Force, in collaboration with the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation (GHFP) Research Institute, launched (1) a Desk Review, and (2) a Survey, aimed at deepening our understanding of inclusive and caring education, and identifying educational programmes where religious and faith inputs are central to their underpinnings. This exploration illustrated that at the core of a common global agenda of quality, equality, and social cohesion are practices of inclusive and caring education, with many inspirational examples linked to approaches anchored in faith. (The term faith is used broadly here, to include religion, faith, belief and spirituality.)

Download the summary of the research report which will serve as the basis for G20i’s global high-level expert consultation during which relevant policy recommendations will be put forward.