Differences between Inclusion and Integration

In the educational field, there are two concepts that refer to the school participation of boys and girls with different conditions, which are inclusion and integration. It is very common to use these terms as synonyms, but they are actually two different concepts.

In this aspect, in this article we will present the definitions of inclusion and integration from which a series of differences emerge that will be explained later.


In principle, inclusion is understood as any provision that aims to achieve the participation of people within society, seeking that they contribute with their abilities, skills and abilities to social development, while being reciprocated with the benefits that society can offer.

Thus, in the educational field, inclusion is understood as a process in which all the individuals of a certain community learn together, regardless of their origin, their social and/or cultural conditions. In this sense, inclusive education not only respects the right to be different as something legitimate, but also values ​​the existence of that diversity.

Likewise, inclusion means the possibility of a school that welcomes general diversity, without any exclusion, neither for reasons related to discrimination between different types of needs, nor for reasons related to the possibilities offered by the school. This enforces the rights inherent to education, equal opportunities and participation.


Basically, integration is understood as the process by which a certain element is incorporated into a larger unit. In this way, reference is made to social, educational, labor, economic, energy, political, regional integration, etc. In the educational field, integration is conceived as a process by which certain groups of people, generally with special educational needs, are inserted into the regular educational system, in order to receive the benefits enjoyed by the rest of the student body.

Similarly, educational integration provides special attention to people with disabilities, where children with special educational needs are prepared in special schools to be able to enter regular schools. However, only people who are considered fit are integrated into the regular system. Integration implies the partial and conditional insertion of certain people, whom it considers a block.

Finally, the principle of integration includes superficial transformations that have to do with the participation of certain people in the regular educational system. In addition, integration tends to value people with disabilities as a homogeneous group, defending their rights above the rest.

That said, the differences between inclusion and integration in the educational field can be summarized as:

Inclusion Integration
It is a total and unconditional insertion. It is a partial and conditioned insertion.
It demands deep transformations. Includes surface transformations.
It defends the rights of all people, with and without disabilities. Defend the rights of people with disabilities.
It values ​​the individuality of people. It does not value the individuality of people with disabilities, since it considers them a homogeneous group.

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