e-Inclusion? Harms and benefits of the digitalisation processes on inclusive educational curricula

Malin Siv Roppel, Jessica Neicun, Robin van Kessel

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


To address current and future challenges such as climate and demographic change, the design of educational frameworks and curricula is not only required to be updated but to place an increased emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and non-linear problem-solving skills (Wong et al., 2021). During the COVID-19 pandemic, the closing of schools was a widespread containment measure (Panovska-Griffiths et al., 2020). Consequently, educational curricula were forced to transform rapidly and shift towards the digital space. Whereas this already posed several challenges for mainstream schools and social facilities including to meet children’s educational and health needs (van Kessel, Siepmann, et al., 2020), the transformation towards digital and inclusive educational curricula also illustrates a significant window of opportunity for policy making and changing current educational systems in a way that future generation are taught the right skills to address upcoming challenges. This policy brief examines by means of a scoping review how digitalisation can benefit or harm the quality of inclusive educational (IE) curricula for typical children, children with special educational needs (SEN) as well as their support networks such as teachers and parents. A systematic search strategy is performed following the PRISMA guidelines. Eight studies were eligible for inclusion and coded using a deductive-inductive approach. The included studies presented a high heterogeneity in terms of sample, country focus as well as models used to describe digitalisation. Beneficial effects of digitalisation on IE curricula are identified as increased autonomy and training in design thinking of typical children and children with SEN, training in digital skills, enhanced social interaction between typical children and children with SEN as well as stimulation of capacity building in IE frameworks. Harmful effects are described as increased need of parental involvement as well as training of teachers and parents in digital skills. The review proves its strength as it illustrates the first approach towards the identification of benefits and harms of digitalisation on the quality of IE curricula. As such, a strength of the research design at hand is the systematic approach to identify relevant documents in an under-researched area. Further research is required to understand the implication of digitalisation on IE curricula in more-depth and operationalise digital educational models. Against this background, policy recommendations are presented to the European Commission. Key recommendations, among others, are (1) to create a European Expert Group on Digital Inclusive Educational Curricula that consist of education, public health experts, interest groups of people with SEN and their social networks as well as experts of relevant sectors including IT-technology, (2) to provide funding for research projects through Horizon Europe’s third pillar on Innovative Europe aiming to explore key requirements for digital inclusive educational curricula as well as (3) to build a supranational data-platform to share national and sub-national best practice examples as an extension of the European Toolkit for Schools as well as the eTwinning platform.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBrussels
PublisherEuropean Public Health Alliance
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'e-Inclusion? Harms and benefits of the digitalisation processes on inclusive educational curricula'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this