Interview with theme convenor of one of six 2019 UKFIET conference themes, ‘Education system actors: strengthening inclusive practice’: Lizzi Milligan, Senior Lecturer in Education and International Development, University of Bath.

What excites you about the theme of ‘education system actors: strengthening inclusive practices’?

There can be a tendency when looking at education systems to focus on the design and outcomes of that educational system. This theme encourages us to focus on the people that are implementing educational reforms in their everyday working lives. At a time when we are seeing an expansion in basic education, I am particularly excited that this theme gives space for reflections on the challenges that this brings for educators in enabling inclusive education for all from early childhood through to tertiary education.

How does your theme link to the overall 2019 conference theme of inclusive education systems?

I do not think that we can talk about an education system without thinking about the actors at all levels of that system. Nor can we talk about inclusion without thinking about the ways that these different actors conceptualise, enact and frustrate inclusive practice. Keeping the human element, as a central part of the discussion, for me, is also important as we think towards inclusive educational futures.

What kind of papers would you like to see submitted under your theme?

We are hoping that this theme will bring a range of papers from evaluations of capacity development programmes to theoretical think pieces. I’m particularly excited to see papers that critically engage with the complex nature of inclusive practice and the intersecting challenges that system actors face in enabling education for all learners.