UNICEF promotes inclusive education through teacher trainings, curriculum development and public awareness campaigns.
For too long, it was believed that children with disabilities should be educated separately. But research has shown that when a child with a disability attends classes with children without disabilities, there are positive educational and social benefits for all involved. Inclusive education is not an option – it is a child’s right, established in the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child and the Rights of People with Disabilities, and now enshrined in a Presidential Decree in Azerbaijan
The Government of Azerbaijan is committed to supporting the rights of children with disabilities through inclusive education, but there remain challenges to delivering on that commitment including:
- Lack of legislation and policies that ensure students with disabilities can access and participate in education on the same basis as students without disabilities
- Schools lacking physical access for children with disabilities
- Teachers lacking experience in working with children with disabilities, as well as the necessary knowledge to use assistive technologies in the classroom
- Misinformed attitudes and long-held social norms that keep children with disabilities in isolation
Taking action, making progress
UNICEF supports inclusive education in Azerbaijan by targeting three main areas: improvements in legislation, strengthening content of education (including through teacher training) and fostering more positive attitudes of parents and school children towards inclusive education
We also concentrate on modelling an inclusive school concept that can be replicated nationwide, building on an earlier successful pilot programme that now includes resource centres in districts around the country. These centres provide more schools, teachers and parents with the resources needed to support inclusive teaching. UNICEF is also working to improve the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards children with disabilities through public communication and engagement initiatives.
As part of our ongoing commitment to evidence-based action, we continue to gather information that supports the development of strategies to improve policies that can eliminate discrimination on the grounds of disabilities in all areas.
Timeline of events
The United Nations drafts the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
The Government of Azerbaijan ratifies the UNCRPD, along with 161 other signatories.
The Government unveils the “State Programme on Development of Inclusive Education in Azerbaijan Republic for 2018-2024”.
UNICEF, in partnership with the Azerbaijani Ministry of Education and the European Union, begins implementing a programme on expanding inclusive quality education for children with disabilities in Azerbaijan.