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UNICEF welcomes Presidential approval of Azerbaijan’s State Programme on Inclusive Education

BAKU, 15 December 2017 - UNICEF welcomes the signing yesterday of the Azerbaijan State Programme on Inclusive Education for 2018-2024, by His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev.

The State Programme marks an important step towards bringing education and learning to every child in the country, by setting out requirements that enable access to mainstream classes for children with disabilities, investments in teacher training and learning resources, disaggregated data on children with disabilities, as well as efforts to increase public awareness of the rights of children with disabilities to mainstream education.

“Azerbaijan was one of the first countries in the region to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the signing of the new State Programme on Inclusive Education demonstrates the country’s commitment to upholding the rights of children with disabilities,” said UNICEF Representative to Azerbaijan Edward Carwardine.

“Including children with disabilities in all aspects of society, especially in education, should be a national priority. I hope the launch of the State Programme on Inclusive Education will be supported by increased investment in inclusive education, and action to promote the full social inclusion of children with disabilities in all aspects of daily life.”

According to official statistics, there were around 67,000 children registered as disabled in 2016 in Azerbaijan, but only about 12,400 receive education either at home or in special institutions.

Supporting the inclusion of children with disabilities in society is one of the central pillars of UNICEF’s work in Azerbaijan – not only in inclusive education but also in areas such as early detection of disabilities amongst young children, and creating opportunities for children with disabilities to participate in community activities such as sports and recreation.

“If we focus on a child’s ability and potential, and not only on their disability, we can help that child to make a meaningful and valuable contribution to the life of her or his community not only today for but the future,” said Carwardine.

“By investing in accessible school facilities, the training of teachers and school managers, improved curriculum, and changing public attitudes towards children with disabilities, we are enabling children with disabilities to have better chances of getting valuable qualifications, of finding decent work, and of reducing dependency upon the State – all of which means we are making an investment in the future of the whole nation.” 



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