For me, diversity is the starting point. It is essentially the recognition and celebration of the richness that comes from the many differences among us. Equity goes beyond celebration to the understanding of what we must do to ensure that each of us, regardless of our background or our circumstances, is provided the opportunity for success as learners, workers and citizens. And finally, inclusivity, the ultimate goal in our schools and in societies, incorporates and builds upon diversity and equity. Inclusivity, to me, has a great deal to do with how each of us feels. We not only feel valued and equal as individuals but also together, as a collective in the class, school and community that is made up of each one of us. When each one of us feels included, it creates a sense of belonging, safety and happiness. Inclusion fosters well-being. Going back to our three important and interconnected words, I would like to say that diversity is our strength, equity is our commitment and inclusion is our goal.
(Ministry of Education Guidelines for Policy Development and Implementation – 2009, Equity and Inclusive Education in Ontario Schools)
Diversity is the presence of a wide range of human qualities and attributes within a group, organization, or society. The dimensions of diversity include, but are not limited to, ancestry, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, physical and intellectual ability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.
Equity is a condition or state of fair, inclusive, and respectful treatment of all people. Equity does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences.
Inclusive Education is based on the principle of acceptance and inclusion of all students. Students see themselves reflected in their curriculum, their physical surroundings, and the broader environment, in which diversity is honoured and all individuals are respected.