Balanced and Inclusive Education


An Approach based upon in-depth cultural introspection for a more complete understanding of the inter-indebtedness and interdependence of cultures.

UNESCO developed the concept of intercultural citizenship which “relies upon conciliating multiple identities and contexts simultaneously, assumes the ability to engage in intercultural dialogues respecting the cultural rights of others, and ideally becomes one step toward promoting peace”. The 2006 Guidelines defined multicultural and intercultural education as follows:

“Interculturality presupposes multiculturalism and results from ‘intercultural’ exchange and dialogue on the local, regional, national or international level. … Multicultural education uses learning about other cultures in order to produce acceptance, or at least tolerance, of these cultures. Intercultural Education aims to go beyond passive coexistence, to achieve a developing and sustainable way of living together in multicultural societies through the creation of understanding of, respect for and dialogue between the different cultural groups” [emphasis in the original].”

UNESCO Guidelines

The Indian-American socio-cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, who has extensively written on the cultural dynamics of globalisation has, however, identified three risks of intercultural dialogue:

  • The risk of being misunderstood and, accordingly, exacerbate cultural misconstructions or disputes;
  • The risks of giving the impression to the interlocutor that they have grasped the essence of one’s culture and, hence, be reduced and caricaturised;
  • The risk of not finding the right balance between speaking on behalf of one’s cultural group and expressing the inner differences, tensions, and diversities.

Education systems seeking to adopt an intercultural approach are persistently faced with the three risks identified by A. Apparadurai. By having to simultaneously address the need to articulate and consolidate a national identity and express this national identity in relation to a globalised world, cultural diversity is, therefore, approached as a problem by formal education systems. It is either reduced to a superficial glance at the other cultures, realising the three risks identified, or completely ignored.

In addition to these impediments, in seeking to respond to the need for a national identity, education systems tend to construct a national narrative, akin to a historical novel, featuring key individuals and moments of a nation’s history. This is often at the expense and exclusion of plurality and diversity, both inherent to the national narrative. This exclusion of plurality and diversity from the national narrative generally takes one of two forms, or both simultaneously:

  • The exclusion of the narratives and histories of minority or marginalised groups in favour of the narrative of the dominant group of a given nation;
  • In countries of the Global South, particularly countries emerging from a colonial past, the adoption of largely Eurocentric narratives of world history which, whilst including the modern political history of the nation, excludes the nation’s own cultures.

In the first case, the education system may inadvertently produce a cultural superiority complex in the dominant groups of society, whilst simultaneously producing a cultural inferiority complex in minority or marginalised groups. In the second case, the consequences echo those of the first, yet at a different scale: development of a cultural inferiority complex of the student body, which does not recognise itself in the narrative, whilst also causing a severance between education and the community. These consequences tend to produce inimical results: for those whose narrative have been excluded, by being requested to renounce to central parts of their identity, they are subject to a state of alienation which, in turn, may result in “murderous identities” as they seek to preserve their cultures, which they essentialise and reduce to a particular set of characteristics which differentiates them from the other, in effect becoming what the other is not; for those whose narratives permeate the education system, the result is either intolerance of the other, whose cultural existence is perceived as a threat to their culture and identity, or an exoticisation of the other in reductive set of characteristics, whose culture and, hence, identity are perceived as irrelevant, beyond cultural curiosity, as it is neither as complex as the dominant culture nor as historically valuable and, hence, irrelevant to the contemporary world. Therefore, this approach to the national narrative in education systems across the world does not only constitute a considerable hinderance to a fruitful intercultural education, but it is also detrimental to the cohesiveness of the national identity itself.

It is in this context that intraculturalism emerges as a complementary approach to inter-cultural education. By reversing Tztan Todorov’s transvaluation, namely “to look at one’s self with an informed look in one’s contact with the other”, intraculturalism becomes potent as an educational approach: it mitigates the three risks of intercultural dialogue and responds to the double need for education systems to articulate cohesive national identities and their dynamic existence within a globalised world. It is no longer a question of studying other cultures in contrast to a given indigenous culture but, rather, to study more fully the indigenous culture and identify:

  • The inter-retro-active influences of its sub-cultures;
  • The influence and contribution of other cultures and exo genous know ledge;
  • Its own influence and contribution to other cultures and their respective body of knowledge.

In consequence, it is the inter-indebtedness and interdependence of cultures and sub-cultures that are elicited, demonstrating that they already are the result of diversity. The risk of accentuating dualism in intercultural dialogue is, in effect, dissipated, since a given culture would not have existed, in its current form, had it not been for the culture of the other and, conversely, the other’s culture would not have existed, in its current form, had it not been for the contribution of one’s own. Grounded in intraculturalism, an education system is enabled to both build a cohesive national identity by including the plural narratives of its communities as an integral, historical part of the national culture, and build a harmonious relationship with other identities in the realisation that they are not merely in co-existence but, rather, co-creators and co-owners of the shared contemporary world. It is an integration of the endogenous and exogenous dimensions of diversity into education, since each culture is both indigenous and non-indigenous in that it is constituted, in part, of exogenous elements and is, itself, the contributor of exogenous elements to other cultures.


Drive towards the uniformisation and globalisation of culture.

An ethical concern for interculturalism: welcoming and promoting the difference between « others » and « us ».

Intraculturalism: A deep interest in understanding ones own culture, so as to appreciate its interdependence and inter-indebtedness with other cultures.

It is appropriate to reiterate, however, the complementary nature of intraculturalism to interculturalism. Whilst intraculturalism demonstrates the intrinsic intercultural and trans-cultural essence of cultures, cultural differences will continue to exist, for which an inter-cultural dialogue will be necessary. Intraculturalism, therefore, can be perceived as an educational pre-condition for fruitful intercultural dialogue.

Four Pillars of
Balanced and Inclusive Education (BIE)

Approach based upon enhancing the understanding of inter-indebtedness and interdependence of cultures

Integrative multi-perspective approach based upon inter- connecting both academic as well as non-academic know-ledge domains

Interactional and synergetic approach based upon problem-posing dialogue and critical exchange through the proactive participation of learners

Context-centred approach based upon the integration and adaption to the realities, values, and interpretive frameworks of the learners, to develop their sense of co-ownership and co-creation

Strategic Plan 2023 - 2030

2023 - 2024

Universal Declaration of Balanced and Inclusive Education

Global Guide of Ethics, Principles, Polices, and Practices in BIE


Très Prochainement