Monday, 3 July 2006

12th sitting of the Children’s Rights Sub-Committee

The Children’s Rights Sub-Committee held its twelfth sitting, chaired by Zivodarka Dacin, on 3 July. The sitting discussed inclusive education in Serbia.



The Children’s Rights Sub-Committee held its twelfth sitting, chaired by Zivodarka Dacin, on 3 July. The sitting discussed inclusive education in Serbia.

Professors from the Special Education and Rehabilitation Faculty informed the deputies of the situation of people with special needs in Serbia, as well as of the fact that 10% of the world’s population are disabled in some way. Research conducted in 5 ordinary and 10 special-needs schools in Belgrade shows that, in ordinary schools, about 25% of children have speech impediments, from 8% to 25% have difficulty writing, 30-40% have difficulty moving, 26-30% have damaged hearing, while 10-20% have behavioural troubles.

The right to an education is a fundamental human right, the sitting heard. Inclusive education will ensure broader integration of special-needs children into the regular education system, and into society as a whole; each child will be allowed to develop according to his/her capabilities. Mentally challenged children can be integrated into some segments of the environment under certain conditions; all special-needs children need to have access to appropriate curricula and expert educationalists to guide them through ordinary schools.

In addition to removing physical barriers making it more difficult for special-needs people to move around schools, it is necessary to educate not only people at schools but also wider local communities about the benefits of inclusive education, as this is a process requiring significant funding and the adoption of appropriate legislation. Far-reaching research is another precondition for introducing inclusive education, as Serbia lacks a database on special-needs children.

In addition to professors from the Special Education and Rehabilitation Faculty, the sitting was also attended by officials of the Education Improvement Institute, the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy, the Serbian Government’s EU Integration Office, and the charity Save the Children.



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