Opening Plenary

The Journey to Inclusive Education; the Ghanaian Story

This year we are pleased to introduce the Hon. Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Deputy Minister for Education in Ghana as our keynote speaker. Dr Adutwum has played a significant role in the transformation of Ghana’s Education system drawing on his vast knowledge and experience from the USA where he ran schools that transformed the lives of many disadvantaged students. In his keynote, he will highlight the practical challenges of making education systems more inclusive, solutions that have been tried, and new challenges for education leaders, researchers, policy makers, and practitioners to address. Dr Adutwum is an engaging speaker who will use his address to set the tone for discussions and debates at this year’s conference.


Inclusive education – lost in translation

Nafisa Baboo is the Director on Inclusive Education for Light for the World, an international Disability and Development organization (using the guiding principle of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the UN SDG’s) working in 19 Low- and Middle-income countries globally. She a qualified speech-language therapist and audiologist, with a Masters in Inclusive Education focused on the inclusion of blind students in regular schools.

BAICE Plenary

Anna Robinson-Pant the BAICE President will present her address ‘Inclusive education: thinking beyond systems’ on Wednesday 18th September . Anna is Professor of Education at the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia. She holds the UNESCO Chair for Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation, a partnership with universities in Nepal, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Malawi and Egypt. She has worked in Nepal since 1985 in training, planning and research roles, including with VSO and ActionAid.


This brief video provides a taster of the discussion and focuses on women farmers in the Philippines

Closing Plenary – A future vision for inclusive education

Presentation by Andria Zafirakou, Global Teacher Prize winner 2018: “Our School’s Journey to Inclusive Education”

In 2018, Andria Zafirakou won the Global Teacher Prize in recognition of the extraordinary contribution she has made to education in London as a teacher of arts and textiles. Andria teaches at Alperton Community School, a secondary school academy in the inner city borough of Brent. Brent is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country and 130 languages are spoken in its schools. Its pupils come from some of the poorest families in Britain, many sharing one house with five other families, many exposed to gang violence.

Working as an art and textiles teacher, and as a member of the senior leadership team, Andria redesigned the curriculum across all subjects from scratch – carefully working alongside other teachers – to have it resonate with her pupils. Andria’s determination to move beyond an identikit school curriculum has seen Alperton awarded the Institute of Education’s Professional Development Platinum Mark, an honour fewer than 10 British schools have ever achieved.

Thanks to her efforts, Alperton is now in the top 1 to 5% of the country in terms of qualifications and accreditations. This as a colossal achievement given how low the students’ starting points were and how rapidly they progressed during their five to seven years at the school, a point recognised by the national inspection team.

Panel discussion: What should inclusive education systems look like in the future and how do we get there?

Panellists will reflect on the conference, and give their perspectives on how education systems globally can become more inclusive. Panel:

Andria Zafirakou 

Nidhi Singal is Professor of Disability and Inclusive Education at the University of Cambridge. She has worked Nidhi Singalextensively with children and young people with disabilities in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research has examined the educational experiences of children with disabilities, the quality of teaching and learning in mainstream classrooms, and the impact of schooling. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with international donor and bilateral agencies and international non-governmental organisations assisting them in developing research projects, undertaking programme evaluations and providing evidence-based policy advice on a wide range of issues aimed at fulfilling commitments towards inclusive education. Nidhi has numerous publications, aimed at academic and policy audiences, focusing on educational inequalities, teaching and learning processes, and methodological issues in undertaking educational research with marginalised groups in the Global South.

Nidhi is Chair of the British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE). She is also a Fellow of Hughes Hall (University of Cambridge) and Trustee of the Cambridge Trusts, the largest provider of funding for international students at Cambridge. Nidhi completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Applied Psychology from the University of Delhi, India.

Moses Oketch, Professor of International Education Policy and Development at the University College London (UCL) Institute of Education and Co-Director of its Centre for Education and International Development (CEID), has published widely on the connection between the theory of human capital and implementation of policies in the areas of economics of education, education policy analysis, and impact evaluation. He has also contributed to and supported research capacity strengthening in Africa through his involvement with the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) as a Senior Research Scientist and Director of Research.

Moses is a member of the Board of Directors of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), and Associate Editor of International Journal of Educational Development. Professor Oketch is currently a member of the Ethiopia research team on the Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE); and Higher Education and the public good in Africa. Professor Oketch was educated in Kenya and the United States. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Colin Bangay is DFID’s Senior Education Adviser in Sierra Leone. He has served throughout Africa and Asia as a teacher, researcher, and adviser working for the private sector, NGO’s, multi-national and bilateral organisations. He spent two years as a lecturer at the World Bank Institute, covering issues of: quality, teacher education, decentralisation and non-state provision. His published work covers a range of topics from non-state education provision to education responses to climate change.


Discussion facilitator: Ritula Shah, BBC

A self confessed “anorak” Ritula has been listening to Radio 4 ever since she can remember. She woke up with Jack de Manio and “listened with mother”.

Having ignored her father’s advice to become a lawyer, she graduated in History from Warwick University in 1988. Soon afterwards, she joined the Radio 4 production team based in Birmingham.

After a spell in regional TV news, she joined the Today programme. Seven years and many nightshifts later, Ritula made the short journey across London to Bush House –  where she became one of the presenters of the daily news show The World Today. She found herself presenting the programme from a variety of unlikely locations, including a building site at the back of a mosque in Tehran and under a table on a rooftop in Moscow (the only place where the equipment was protected from the snow).

Ritula is now a presenter of The World Tonight and Saturday PM – and in 2011 won Media Professional of the Year at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards.

Conference closing remarks: Keith Lewin, Chair of the board of UKFIET Trustees, Emeritus Professor University of Sussex

Professor Keith Lewin is the Professor of International Education and Development at the University of Sussex and alumnus of the Institute of Development Studies. Keith developed and directed the Centre for International Education at Sussex for 17 years and led the DFID funded Research Consortium for Educational Access, Transitions and Equity (CREATE). Keith was the founding convenor of the Sussex International Masters programme in Education in 1979 which is now in its fortieth year. He has supervised 50 PhD students and is the author of more than 200 books, journal articles and research monographs.