Many children in Moldova do not benefit fully from their right to education. Most schools have not yet become places to learn and socialize for the most vulnerable and excluded children, especially children with disabilities. Many are still excluded from mainstream education and consigned to so-called ‘special schools’. Some teachers still refuse to educate children with disabilities: only half of teachers believe that children with disabilities should study in regular schools.
Some parents fear that their children’s education will suffer if they share the classroom with a child who has a disability. Even though recent data shows improvements, many parents and caregivers still believe that children with disabilities should stay at home without receiving an education, or be sent to a residential institution or to a special school. Children with disabilities are left in institutions more often compared to other categories. One in three children in residential care is a disabled child.
Children with mental disabilities are even more stigmatized than children with physical disabilities. The lack of support services and the weak capacities of staff in regular educational institutions to deal with children with disabilities slows down their inclusion. It also leaves children with less obvious forms of disability or learning difficulties without the individualized assistance needed to learn to their full potential.