Segregation in Czech Republic Called "Unlawful"
Budapest, 23 June 2011. In observations published this week, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on the Czech Republic to end "systematic and unlawful" segregation and discrimination directed against Roma children, and "de facto exclusion" of children with disabilities from mainstream education.
Read more - http://mdac.info/node/733
What the Advocates for Inclusion in the UK Say –
David Cameron has acted on his threat to “Reverse the bias towards inclusion” for disabled children and other children who need extra help at school. The Governments green paper ‘Support and Aspiration: A New Approach to Special Educational Needs and Disability” is based entirely on the medical model of disability and will push back all the progress for which disabled people have struggled over the last 20 years. These proposals include:
• Creating many more special school places
• Removing the right of children to a legally enforceable ‘Statement of Special Educational Needs’
• Re-introducing the infamous caveats in the law which allow local authorities to forcibly segregate disabled children
• Allow many more schools to opt out of local authority control (and centralised services which support inclusion)
• Put parents in control of their children’s financial resources until they are 25 years old
This is in the context of a massive cut back in the rights and resources being made available to disabled people and their families.
- Check further - http://www.dpac.uk.net/
Obama Advisor Suggests Caution to UK Policy
The UK Government of David Cameron’s plans to overhaul the special educational needs (SEN) system could lead to vulnerable children being segregated and denied opportunities, according to an adviser to Barack Obama.
Ari Ne'eman urged caution over the Coalition's plans to end the "bias towards inclusion" and said all pupils deserve the right to attend a mainstream school. Mr Ne'eman, who was appointed to the US National Council on Disability by President Obama, made his comment on a visit to the UK to meet politicians and autism campaigners.
United Kingdom Children's minister Sarah Teather proposed reforms to the SEN system earlier this year in a green paper, including safeguards to protect special schools. She wants to end the "bias" towards including SEN children in mainstream rather than special schools.
Mr Ne'eman, who is on the autistic spectrum and is the founding president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, said: "I attended a special school for part of my education, and there was a regrettable culture of low expectations.
"If I had stayed there I wouldn't have gone to college. There was nothing particularly special about me, I just had the opportunity to go to a different school and I was included there with the right support.
"I know about the debate about inclusion here. British educational policy must be decided by British people, and this is a debate for people in this country, but a lot of people try to argue inclusion doesn't work for all kinds of students.
"I find that's because they've not really tried it properly, putting services and support in mainstream schools and giving teachers the right training. When that happens it leads to less bullying and social exclusion."
- From TES London, June 2011
Inclusion Controversy Heats Up in Britain
Last year’s election of David Cameron as the UK’s Prime Minister has led to a bitter dispute over education policy in that country. A long tradition of special schools was gradually being reduced during the Labour Government.
Special schools closed as a policy of greater inclusion of children with disabilities developed. Even so, many parents experienced many obstacles to get their children into mainstream schools. Critics said that there was indeed a move to more inclusion but it was not properly supported with resources.
Even so, the Conservatives seemed to think things had gone too far and promised to reverse what they saw as “bias for inclusion”.
The 2010 Conservative Party manifesto states: "The most vulnerable children deserve the very highest quality of care, so we will call a moratorium on the ideologically-driven closure of special schools.
Mr Cameron, whose disabled son Ivan died in 2009, said that as the parent of a disabled child himself, he was "passionate" about helping parents get the education that was right for them. He said he would make it easier for parents to get what was right for their child, be it inclusion in mainstream schools or a special school education.
Better Education for All - A Global Report
This is an Inclusion International Report - Better Education for All - A Global Report - that was released in October 2009 at the Salamanca, Spain Conference. Click here to read the full report.
Promoting Partnership with Parents in Peru
Ines de Escallon, a parent and inclusive education advocate from Toronto, spoke at a conference in Lima, Peru in October 2010.
Ines made a presentation to 600 teachers titled "The Role of the Family in Inclusive Education". She was invited by the Ministry of Education in Peru. Ines also conducted a workshop on Families and Inclusive Education with eight (8) mothers participating as well as a number of support teachers. The National Director of Inclusive Education, Clemencia Vallejo, is working to promote inclusive education in Peru. According to the Ministry of Education, only 23% of children with disabilities receive an education in Peru. The department has entered into an alliance "PRODIES" with the Spanish Embassy and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation. The support is focused on providing economic contribution to efforts to improve education for students with disabilities. Ines observes that there is a high level of need to help teachers understand why it is important to work with families in Peru and throughout Latin America. Teachers and school officials need to learn how to work with families and develop strategies that will build partnerships in the effort to promote inclusive education.
European Agency Promotes Inclusive Education
The European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education is an independent and self-governing organization established by 27 member countries to act as their platform for collaboration regarding the development of provision for learners with special educational needs.
The agency is maintained by the Ministries of Education in the participating countries (member states of the European Union as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) as well as supported by the European Union Institutions via the Jean Monnet program under the EU Lifelong Learning Program.
The Agency facilitates the collection, processing and transfer of European level and country specific information and offers member countries the opportunity to learn from each other through different types of knowledge and experience exchange.
The agencies short and long term work programs reflect both member countries’ priorities and agreed EU policies regarding learners with special educational needs and the promotion of their full participation within mainstream education and training.
European efforts to promote inclusive education
On 15 November, Director Cor Meijer and Chairman Jørgen Greve of the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education met with EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou and General Director Jan Truszczynski of the European Commission to inform them of the Agency’s work programme priorities and formally invite them to the European Hearing for young people with and without disabilities. The European Hearing will take place in the European Parliament, 5-7 November 2011. For information about the agency and it’s activities as well as programs of participating countries go to their website
Two German Teams of Educators Visit Canada
German Teachers Visit New Brunswick
Anke Grafe and Anke Stenzel led a group of 6 teachers from Germany who spent two weeks in New Brunswick recently. They came to see how inclusive education works. They visited schools and classrooms, talked to teachers, principals and other schools staff and looked at and reviewed a variety of materials on inclusive education practice. Robin Crain of School District 14 in Woodstock helped coordinate their visit and helped the team access local schools.
German Researchers in Canada
Earlier in the year two researchers from Germany visited three provinces in Canada. Gordon Porter helped them organize their visit to Montreal, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Shown at the right is Dr. Dieter Katzenbach, a professor at the University of Frankfurt, as well a doctoral student Christoph Degen. Diana Carr organized their visit to schools in Montreal, Carla Digiorgio of UPEI was their guide in Prince Edward Island, and Dany Desjardins, Angela AuCoin and Robin Crain and the staff of School District 14 in Woodstock provided the hospitality in New Brunswick. Professor Katzenbach will be reflecting on his visit to Canada at a session at the Conference in Salamanca Spain in October.
First Deaf Engineer in El Salvador
In the photo you see Pablo Duran and his parents, Sylvia and Edgar Duran who live in San Salvador in Central America. Pablo is the first university graduate engineer in El Salvador who is deaf. What has that got to do with inclusive education in Canada you might ask. Well it turns out Pablo’s dad Edgar is a former leader of the parent advocacy movement in that country. Edgar has visited Canada several times since first meeting Canadians at a conference in Managua, Nicaragua in 1993. Edgar has also attended a number of seminars about inclusive education and the benefits of inclusion and parent advocacy for inclusion. He attributes his passion for inclusion for Pablo to what he learned from his Canadian colleagues. What a great thing for Pablo and his family. We are indeed engaged in a struggle for fair play and justice not only in Canada but in neighbouring countries as well.
Report Card Time
Inclusion International and Inclusion Europe are leading an international team organizing a major conference in Salamanca Spain in October 2009. The event will be held in the historic City of Salamanca - and will revisit the progress made toward inclusive education in the 15 years since the UNESCO World Conference on Special Education was held there in 1994.
Educators, policy makers, parents, and others will gather to assess the progress made and the challenges that remain. October 21-23, 2009 in Salamanca. Put it on your calendar.
More detailed information will be available on this and other websites in a few weeks.
For the current Conference flyer - click here.
Inclusion International holds a Global Conference on Inclusive Education
Inclusion International President Diane Richler has announced a conference on inclusive education to be held in Salamanca Spain in October 2009. The Salamanca Statement was adopted at the UNESCO World Conference on Special Education in June 1994. Now 15 years latter it is time to look at the progress made during the last 15 years. Officials, educators, parents and families are invited to attend the conference being held at University of Salamanca, October 21-23, 2009. The Conference title is - Return to Salamanca: Renewing our Vision and the Road Ahead – 1994-2009.
Check for details on the Inclusion International Website.
Coming soon: UNESCO’s online forum on Inclusive Education
UNESCO is organizing an online discussion forum from 1-30 April 2008 on the theme of "Quality Education to End Exclusion".
Sign up now!
The Organization is holding the month-long forum in support of Global Action Week 2008 (21-27 April). Quality and inclusion are key factors in attaining Education for All, UNESCO’s top priority.
A session of the “World's Biggest Lesson” with UNESCO’s Director-General; a round table on quality and inclusion and the launch of a DVD related to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are among the events planned at UNESCO headquarters on 23 April during Global Action Week.
UNESCO is mobilizing its stakeholders for this annual initiative to remind governments of their promise to achieve Education for All by 2015. Global Action Week is organized by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a UNESCO partner.
Click here to visit their site.
Inclusion Europe hosts a "Europe in Action 2008" Event in Vienna April 10-12 focused on "Education for All". Two Canadians are Keynote speakers - Diane Richler former Executive Vice President of CACL and current President of Inclusion International, and Gordon L. Porter, a Past President of CACL and currently Director of Inclusive Education with CACL. Check out the program.
Gordon Porter recently spent a few days in Peru. He worked with officials in the Ministry of Education as well as parents. He also made presentations to students and faculty at several Universities in Lima and Trujillo. He was featured in a full page story in Lima's leading newspaper El Comercio. To view the story - click.