As part of the project “Assessing and Responding to Child Protection Challenges during the COVID-19 Pandemic”, the Ukrainian Child Rights Network NGO together with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine held a webinar for social workers on inclusive education. One of the goals of the project is to strengthen the capacity of specialists in the system of protection of children’s rights and social support of families.
During the monitoring of families, it is the social workers who face the issues of inclusive education for children and advise parents on which organizations to turn to. In order to increase the competencies of specialists in the field of educational legislation, a webinar was held on the topic: “Inclusive education: how to provide education for children with special needs at their place of residence.” The speaker was Olga Nabochenko, a state expert on inclusive education at the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
According to the Ministry of Education and Science, more than 30,000 children are currently receiving inclusive education. The order of organization and features of regulation of inclusive education at all levels are regulated by the Law of Ukraine “On Education” dated 05.09.2017 № 2145-VIII, in particular Art. 20 and Art. 1, item 12, and the Law of Ukraine “On Complete General Secondary Education” № 764-IX of 13.07.2020, Art. 12 and Art. 20.
Olga Nabochenko stressed that the right to inclusive education can be used by any child if the parents choose such a form for her. Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of July 12, 2017 № 545 approved the procedure for the establishment and operation of inclusive resource centers (IRCs) throughout Ukraine. Parents can apply to the centers for a free consultation – IRC specialists will determine the child’s educational needs and provide recommendations. Currently, there are 633 inclusive resource centers in all regions of Ukraine.
In order to receive recommendations, parents can submit documents remotely. On the IRC portal, you need to select the center of residence, download and fill out documents, send them to employees and wait for an invitation to a meeting. If the child is recommended for inclusive education, parents can apply to the school to create an inclusive class or inclusive group, adding the conclusion of the IRC.
In addition, the state expert on inclusive education, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine spoke about the peculiarities of the inclusive classroom and additional services for children, which are guaranteed by law. Children who have special educational needs will be helped by the teacher’s assistant: he will select individual tasks, help with solving problems during the lesson, modify educational topics. If necessary, the child can receive additional services from other specialists: speech therapist, speech pathologist, rehabilitation specialist, etc. Such services are paid for by subventions from the state budget to local budgets for the provision of state support to persons with special educational needs. The child can also buy the necessary materials, special equipment or correctional programs so that he can master the educational program.
The service “child’s assistant” should be mentioned separately – as a rule, this service is provided by social workers. Parents or guardians have the opportunity to receive such assistance if they cannot help the child during school.
Thus, the child’s right to receive inclusive education is guaranteed by the laws of Ukraine, and the refusal of school staff to create an inclusive group or class is, in fact, a violation of the law. At the same time, social workers play a key role in informing parents about receiving free services and consultations.