Together for Inclusion and Education
End of October Kvareli lake in the Eastern part of Georgia is a quiet place. However, this year it was different. Around 40 experts and practitioners in the field of inclusive education from all over the Caucasus gathered on Monday, 27 October to advocate for better inclusion of disadvantaged children and youth in education in the Caucasus region.
“This is the first time that educational actors from the Northern and Southern Caucasus worked together on inclusive issues”, Tamari Mosiahvili Education Program Manager from the Civic Development Institute (CDI) pointed out, referring to the fact that besides practitioners and experts also officials from Armenia and Georgia participated in the one day conference.
CDI was the main organizer of the conference, which was carried out on behalf of the project CHILD and the Caucasus Network for Children (CNC) – a Network of 15 civil society organizations from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the North Caucasus of the Russian Federation that strives towards becoming the main driving force to press for inclusion of disadvantaged children and youth in the Caucasus.
Anahit Bakhshyan, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia presented the Armenian experience in introducing inclusion into the public educational system. In Armenia a new law on inclusive education will come into force by the end of the year that will turn all schools on all levels into inclusive schools, where students with and without special needs will be instructed together.
It took Armenia 10 years to come this far. The main driving force was the non-governmental organisation Bridge of Hope (BoH). “Without inclusive movement, nothing will change”, BoH president Susanna Tadevosyan underlines the importance of civil society actors as a driving force in pressing for inclusion of vulnerable children. “They will reject you once, they will probably not listen to you the other day. But one day they will ask you: Now, tell us, what do you want? What should we do? And this will be your chance”, Bakhshyans – being herself a political figure - advices the civil service actors.
New approaches in inclusive education were presented by scientists and practitioners from Georgia and Russia. In the last session, participants of the conference discussed “Education policies in countries” and “Teaching approaches” in order to identify the challenges and to introduce best practice examples and share experience in how to overcome the physical and mental barriers that prevent societies from being inclusive.
For more detailed information on all participants of the conference please go here
For the conference program please click here
For further information on CHILD please click here
For general information on CNC please click here