Montenegro presents its good practices in Inclusive Education at Regional Ministerial Education Conference
ISTANBUL, Turkey, 13 December 2013 — Mr. Slavoljub Stijepović, Minister of Education, and Ms. Vesna Vučurović, Deputy Minister, presented the experience of Montenegro in implementing inclusive education policies and reforms, as well as the success achieved through the campaign “It’s About Ability” at the regional ministerial education conference hosted by the Government of Turkey and organized jointly with UNICEF in Istanbul.
Montenegro's Minister and Deputy Minister of Education at the regional ministerial education conference in Istanbul in December 2013
As a sign of the recognition of the efforts and results achieved by Montenegro in promoting the rights of children with disabilities, a short documentary about the It’s About Ability Campaign was presented to the participants at the closing of the Regional Ministerial Conference. Under the influence of this campaign one in five citizens (19%) changed attitudes and one in four (25%) changed positively the behaviour towards children with disability.
On this occasion, Montenegro joined 19 governments in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia in providing political support for a call to realize the right of millions of children to inclusive and quality education. In particular, Montenegro’s new Strategy for Inclusive Education for the period up to 2018 aims at ensuring that the good results achieved so far are sustained and the right of all children with disabilities to quality education is realized.
“We have agreed to act now and to think big,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt. “We have also agreed to focus on the hardest to reach children and adolescents. This will require strong sustained partnerships and the participation of a broad range of partners including parents, youth and teachers.”
An estimated 2.5 million children in the region are missing out on basic education, particularly the most vulnerable and excluded, according to UNICEF. Even when children are in school, many are not learning well and are not equipped with the skills needed to thrive in their communities and the job market. About half of 15-year old students in the region do not meet baseline standards in reading, science and mathematics. Millions more adolescents drop out before completing upper secondary education.
Leaders rallied behind the ‘Education Equity Now!’ call to action launched at this regional ministerial education conference aimed at getting every child into school, learning well, early and on time and getting every child proper support from a well-governed and well-resourced education system.
Participants at the conference also discussed strategies to achieve the objective of the Call for Action. Some of the key recommendations are: invest in one year pre-primary education for every child; engage young people and parents as partners; invest in teacher quality; improve data on excluded children; reduce discrimination; allocate more resources to schools with more needs; and support schools to adopt inclusive practices.