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Conference "Right to Inclusive Education"

Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (henceforth, CRPD) on 29 July 2009, and ratified it on 12 March 2010, including the Optional Protocol on Acceptance of Individual Complaints Procedures.

In September 2016, CRPD Committee adopted and published General Comment under Article 24.  The General Comment provides guidance for the 166 States that have ratified the Convention on meeting their obligations under Article 24, under which “States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and life-long learning.”

Education of persons with disabilities is often poor quality, sets low expectations and limits learners’ opportunities, the Committee notes. By contrast, a truly inclusive learning environment values the contribution and potential of persons with disabilities, and equips them with essential life, language and social skills.  

At present, there is no common definition of disability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or understanding of disability according to the social model. No standardized methodology for assessment of disability or common understanding of a methodology that is based on functional assessment of children exists. The language used to describe children with disabilities is often medical in nature and, at times, offensive and unproductive. It is estimated that at least 6,5 % of children in Bosnia and Herzegovina are children with disabilities. Progress in inclusive education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is measured by “access” to school and not by “participation” in education.

The right to inclusive education means transforming culture, policy and practice in all formal and informal educational environments to ensure education is for all learners. Inclusive education is important not only for persons with disabilities but the societies they live in, as it helps to combat discrimination, and to promote diversity and participation.

The Conference “Right to Inclusive Education”

Commentary 4 to the Article 24 of the CRPD is a good momentum to address some of the key issues in the inclusive education processes and education reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina. UNICEF and Ministry of Civil Affairs BiH as the key partner in education at the state level would convene a high level event on the Article 24. Mobilizing and informing a wide range of key stakeholders on the importance and vision of the inclusive education (as stated and signed in the UNCRPD) will inform decisions and strategies for achieving goals of the inclusive education.

The conference will be organized over the course of two days, 19 and 20 June at the Blue conference room, building of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH and would be structured around the following themes: a) role of special schools, b) teacher education and professional development for inclusion, c) school environments (access, quality – teachers, curricula, support, parents etc.), d) inter-sectoral cooperation

Objectives of the Conference

Present and discuss General Comment under Article 24 of the CRPD on Inclusive education;

Agree and get commitment on common vision and ways forward in inclusive education in BiH;

Share and discuss knowledge and experiences at the country, regional and EU level to support the implementation of the obligations under the Article 24; 

To prepare and adopt a Conference Recommendations to support governments in BiH to implement and sustain inclusive education system for all persons.

Expected results

Key stakeholders in BiH at all levels understand and commit to implement measures from General comment 4 under the Article 24 of the CRPD;

Conference participants are familiar with the good practices developed at country, regional and EU level to implement Article 24, and commit to make use of them.

Conference participants commit to a “Call to Action” on inclusive education

Participants

Around 60 participants from the following organizations and institutions: Ministry of Civil Affairs BiH, Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees BiH, Federal Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska, Department of Education of the Government of Brcko District, cantonal ministries of education, Teacher Training Institutions (pre and in-service), Faculty of Defectology, schools, DPO, CSO, parents organizations, persons with disabilities, local commissions for social inclusion, international organizations (EU, UN, OSCE, Save the Children, WV), bilateral development partners in BiH (US, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan), media, UNICEF Regional Education and CO staff and technical experts and consultants.

 

 

 
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