Inclusive education is a key global agenda that is primarily driven by concern for children’s rights. In China, the term is a translated, introduced, foreign concept. The localised practice of inclusion is encapsulated in the policy of Learning in Regular Classrooms, which not only adopts the narrow sense of inclusion for children with disabilities, but it is also dominated by the medical model of disability. An explicit rights-based philosophical foundation for inclusion that is widely accepted and internalised by local Chinese teachers and schools appears largely absent. This paper explores how Confucianism as a moral philosophy may be compatible with the rights discourse and may provide the necessary moral strengths and philosophical base to support inclusion in Chinese schools. The conclusion highlights the needs to pay attention to how teachers’ deeper values, motivation, and drives can facilitate inclusive efforts, and also calls for a more explicit human rights discourse to develop in China in the long term.
- moral philosophy
- learning in regular classrooms
- traditional values
- Chinese teachers