Inclusive education is often associated with pupils with disabilities, or those who have “special educational needs”. Actually, the inclusion refers to school education for all children and youth, according to the concept “school for all”.
What is inclusive education?
Inclusion is a process that allows a constant increase in the level of education and participation for all children. Actually, inclusion takes place together with a gradual level of participation. An inclusive school is a emergent school.
Inclusive education means:
- Establishing equality between pupils and staff;
- Promoting an increased participation of all pupils in their education as well as reducing the number of those pupils excluded from the culture, curricula and community values through the schools;
- Restructuring the culture, school policies and practices so that they would correspond to the diversity of children from the community;
- Reducing barriers in the learning and participation for all pupils not only for those who have special needs or those labeled as having “special educational needs”;
- Learning from the experience and overcoming access barriers at the school and increasing pupils’ participation;
- Understanding the difference among pupils as a resource for the learning process, not as a problem that needs to be solved;
- Recognizing the right of children to education in their own community;
- Increasing the inclusion rate in schools of both, teaching staff and pupils;
- Increasing the role of schools in creating communities and establishing their values, as well as in achieving better results for all members involved;
- Developing a relationship of mutual support between school and community;
- Recognizing that inclusion in education represents an aspect of inclusion in society.
School participation means learning together with other children and collaborating by sharing the learned experience. It requires an active involvement in education and the right to voice an opinion regarding the way every child experiences their own education. Moreover, participation means recognition, acceptance and valuing each pupil’s personality.
Within the context for the reform of the residential care system for children, more children who have special educational needs will be integrated in the community schools in the upcoming years. Are our schools ready to accept them? It is important to recognize that during the last 2 years significant changes have been accomplished, there are still many more goals to fulfill. The government has demonstrated commitment to accept children with special educational needs in the community schools, this allows for children to return to their families. However, before this takes place the legal framework has to be significantly adjusted. Teaching staff who is not familiar with the methodology and best practices of working with children with specials needs may need training in the following: tracking children’s performance, using specific tests at the end of school year and whether using any of these methods is legal/appropriate. Currently, many of the questions still do not have answers, but we hope that in the near future we will have these answers.
At this time, CCF/HHC Moldova is offering support to schools and teaching staff in the process of creating the necessary conditions for all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, and emotional needs.
In order to facilitate the inclusion process, our organization can offer:
- Educational assistance (coaching, tutoring, support for homework);
- Psychological assistance (individual and group counseling);
- Assistance to teaching staff (supporting teaching staff, speech therapists, psychologists, psychopedagogist);
- Specific types of therapy such as psychotherapy and speech therapy.
- 46 children with special educational needs are receiving help provided by the supporting teaching staff (16 children who are currently attending Middle-School and 30 of them who are enrolled in a local community school);
- 24 supporting teaching staff members are receiving financial support through CCF/HHC Moldova (7 staff members who work in the Middle School, and 17 in the local community school).
We helped 180 children to integrate into community schools as close to home. 54 schools have become, with our support, inclusive and child-friendly.