Parents and authorities discuss ways to include children with special educational needs in mainstream schooling
23 February 2015
Moldova’s success and remaining challenges in integrating children with special educational needs into mainstream education was the focus of a meeting in Chisinau on Monday, organized by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), UNICEF and the Moldovan Government, that brought together children, parents, key decision-makers and civil society representatives.
Participants reviewed recent inclusive education policies and practices in the Republic of Moldova that have helped some 4,000 children with special educational needs to attend mainstream schools, but also discussed the situation of the large number of children with disabilities who remain excluded from school or face barriers in accessing education.
“We welcome the chance to meet with parents and children and to hear their experiences with these new inclusive education policies. Open dialogue with civil society helps strengthen our ability to secure genuine inclusion for all children,” said Liliana Onofrei-Nicolaescu, the deputy education minister of Moldova.
The chance to share experiences was echoed by Iulian Perciun, who has a child with disabilities. “We appreciate this opportunity to meet Ministry officials, educators and other members of the policy community, to discuss our experiences in working to overcome barriers to equal education for children with disabilities,” said Mr. Perciun.
The meeting, which was held at the Republican Centre for Children and Youth, ARTICO, and was attended by Moldova’s First Lady Margareta Timofti, was the first Platform Discussion on the rights of children with special educational needs in education. It was the culmination of nearly a year of efforts by parents and children to create a network to strengthen solidarity and common advocacy in pushing for genuine inclusive education. The network currently has 80 families with children who have special needs.
The UN is extensively involved in supporting Moldova’s efforts to secure genuine inclusion for children with special educational needs. The Platform Discussion resulted in the elaboration of a resolution with proposals and recommendations for further action and next steps.
The meeting was organised as part of the project “Support for Civil Society in Combating Discrimination” with the participation of the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), UNICEF, the Moldovan Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, and the Council on Preventing and Combating Discrimination and Ensuring Equality. The event received financial support from the European Union and was co-financed by Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation.
INCLUSIVE EDUCATION IN MOLDOVA: KEY FACTS and FIGURES
- There are around 15,000 children with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova.
- The Government programme for the development of inclusive education was adopted in 2011.
- Since then, the number of children with special educational needs in regular schools increased from 1604 to 7660. During the same period the number of children with disabilities in auxiliary and special schools decreased from 2549 to 1538.
- Psycho-pedagogical Assistance Services function in 35 districts and municipalities and all the 238 staff were trained to support children with special educational needs in the inclusion process.
- In 2014 expenditures for the minimum package for inclusive education, consisting of resource centres and assistant teachers, were included in the schools’ per-student normative.
- At present there are 497 resource centres and 603 assistant teachers supporting children with special educational needs in the inclusion process.
- In 2014 expenditures were earmarked for inclusive education in preschool institutions for the first time.
For more detailed information, please contact:
Cornelia Adeola, UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) Consultant on Anti-Discrimination and Rights of Persons with Disabilities - +373 604 22 756, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Xenia Siminciuc, UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) Diversity Outreach Consultant - +373 684 88 663;
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