Inclusion in kindergartens and schools
We help children with additional educational needs to acquire knowledge alongside their peers
Children with special educational needs and disabilities often do not have the opportunity to go to a mainstream school or kindergarten. The government of Belarus has been making efforts to develop quality inclusive education, but the training of classes and teachers has not been fully implemented.
Only 62% of children with additional needs are enrolled in regular primary and secondary education, and 8.4% are enrolled in special education. 164 special classes and 4,892 groups of integrated education and upbringing have been launched in Belarus. Every ninth child with disabilities does not attend educational institutions at all.
We ensure that the inclusive approach is spread in all preschools and schools. We ensure that children with disabilities and special educational needs who are of early and preschool age attend kindergartens at their place of residence, while getting additional support from speech pathologists and psychologists. We ensure that school-age children get knowledge and skills together with their peers.
We have been working on this together with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus with the financial support of the Government of the Russian Federation.
It is about changing the system to fit the needs of the students instead of the students adapting to its requirements.
Because the “problem” is in the system, not in the person or her/his profile.
In order to do this:
● we help adapt educational materials and develop flexible curricula;
● we procure and donate assistive devices to kindergartens and schools (special devices helping students with special educational needs address learning challenges independently);
● we build capacity of future and practicing teachers and other educational professionals;
● we draft a roadmap to establish resource centers in special education institutions to ensure a smooth transition for children with additional needs to attend mainstream preschools and schools;
● we conduct an awareness campaign to debunk the myths and stereotypes in society that are associated with childhood disability. Please find out more about the benefits of inclusive education and stories of children on the website of the Just Children at School awareness campaign (https://prostodeti.by/).
We have procured and donated assistive devices to 285 children with disabilities (special devices helping students with special educational needs solve learning problems independently). They enabled them to go to school and to overcome — with greater ease — the barriers that prevented them from learning.
In addition, we completed the Just Children At School national campaign, which reduced negative attitudes towards children with special educational needs: we discussed inclusion, children with disabilities, and developed materials to help parents.
Thanks to cooperation between UNICEF in Belarus, the Ministry of Education and the Belarusian State Pedagogical University (BSPU), the first in Belarus National Resource Center for Inclusive Education was launched in Minsk in 2017.
This is a subdivision of the Inclusive Education Institute of the Belarusian State Pedagogical University, which helps introduce best practices in the educational process, systematizes and transfers best inclusive education practices to the relevant institutions of the country.
The Center organizes training workshops for students and teachers, master classes for parents, remedial classes for children.