Education and Training for children with disabilities in public schools in Cyprus A report by the Cypriot Commissioner for Children’s Rights MRS LEDA Koursoumba (2012) Presentation By Dr. Kyriakos Pachoulides Educational Officer Commissioner for Children’s Rights Office ENOC 16th Annual Conference Nicosia, 11 – 12 October 2012
One of the competences the Law sets out to the Commissioner is: “to monitor and follow up the legislation and practices and to submit proposals, aiming at the harmonization of the legislation with the relevant international treaties”
The report drawn from: • Complaints by individual children or/ and group of children (through parents’ associations) • Consultation with • Professionals in the field of special education (teachers, special educators, school psychologists, academicians / specialists) • The Young advisor’s team • Parents’ Associations • Commissioner’s visits to schools • Minutes of a number of meetings of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and on Human Rights which discussed related issues
After its completion: The Report was presented by the Commissioner before the Parliamentary Committee on Education in the presence of the Minister of Education and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education.
Structure of the Report • International Legal Framework • Convention on the Rights of the Child • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities • Τhe Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education. The Salamanca World Conference on Special Needs Education • The National Legal Framework • Law for the Education and Training of Children With Special Needs 114 (1) / 1999 and 2001 • Education of Children with Special Needs Regulations 186(I)/ 2001 The Regulations for the Early Detection of Children with Special Needs (185(I)2001) • Remarks – Comments – Suggestions - Proposals
Remarks – Comments – Suggestions - Proposals • Cross -cutting Issues : • Committees for Special Education (Central Committee, District Committees) • Individualized Educational Programme • Professional Development Programmes • Coordinating Officers • Pre – elementary education • Elementary Education • Secondary Education • Family / school relations
Cross Cutting Issues • Committees for Special Education for Special Education (Central Committee, District Committees) • Need for Organizational Enhancement • More permanent structure • Members not ex officio but based on their scientific/ educational background • Supported by Interdisciplinary Regional Evaluation and Support Centers • Individualized Educational Programme • Time for the Coordination between the class teacher(s) and the special education teacher • Regular Professional Development Programmes
Pre – primary Education • Improvement of the procedures for Early Detection of Children with Special Needs - Screening Tests – An open debate • Establishment of an interdisciplinary group of experts for immediate intervention – support the work of teachers in the class
Elementary school • Time for class teachers for coordination/ collaboration with Special Education Teachers • Legal Obligation for class teachers to adapt their lesson to the needs of their students with disabilities (differentiation) – support by Special Education Teachers • Decrease to the number of students in a class which hosts children with special educational needs • Children to have access to the Interdisciplinary Regional Evaluation and Support Centers
Secondary Schools • Special teachers in Secondary schools • to support the work of class teachers (specialized teachers not pedagogues) for : • adapting the curriculum and the teaching material to the needs of their students, • developing alternative more inclusive teaching strategies (differentiation) • to provide support on an individual basis to students with the aim to enable them to develop and foster the appropriate skills that will allow them to develop self-confidence and independence, and to reach their potential.
Family / School relations • Parents need education as well • Structures that would promote the relations between the families of children with disabilities and their schools