Regional Seminar “Inclusive Education in Contexts of Social and Cultural Diversity” ALBANIA BACKGROUND ( Prepared by Robert Gjedia & Virxhil Nano)
I. Educational Policy Papers • Inter-ministerial strategy on inclusive education . This strategy guides MoES, MoL and MoH, to include in their programs issues of Inclusive education. • Institutional Strategy of Institute of Curriculum & Training (ICTr) on the professional and vocational development of teachers and school heads 2007, on ways of teacher training with regard also to the direction of inclusive education. • General standards of in-service teachers, prepared by ICTr (draft 2008, decision taking in the MoES under process). This document touches on the professional competences of teachers who work with mental and physical disabled children and with other difficulties to learn. Also in the framework of the project “quality Excellence in education”, other teacher’s profile standards are under process including the teachers who work with children with difficulties and special needs.
II. Teaching and learning situation of children with special needs • Children, mainly those with mental difficulties, deaf and blind ones study in special schools. • It’s almost seven years now that based on the special instruction of MoES has started integration of children with special needs the public schools • Training of the teachers is made according to vocational development programs mainly in cooperation with NGOs, but we stress on the fact that this training needs to be continual and year by year. • NGOs we have been cooperating with: ADRIF, Save the children, Help for life, ACHR • Teachers need capacity raising in order to adapt the curricula with special needs of disabled children
III. Strong and weak points in training the in-service teachers • The need to establish a national advisory centre and other local advisory centers on the inclusive education in ICTr and in the local ED. These would facilitate work and would closely cooperate with the schools in this direction. • The needs for sustainable financial support of that scheme • One specialist for several schools would be a good opportunity for the facilitation of the work of the teachers and children with difficulties • Identification of the needy children in all the schools would be a fruitful statistical data in this direction • Inclusion and engagement of parents in the school issues and strengthening of the relations for treatment of children with difficulties • Preparation of the training materials for the teachers and children with difficulties
IV. Establishment of human and other capacities in the country • Directorate of educational policies in the MoES needs to raise their capacity in the direction of designing and implementation of the educational strategies in the area of inclusive education, and especially in the direction of monitoring and implementation of the strategies. • Universities who prepare and produce teachers should review and formulate professional standards on the education of students in the area of special education • ICTr needs to establish a professional group in the area of inclusive education • Regional educational Directorates should establish the advisory centers on inclusive education • ICTr should further cooperate with NGOs by establishing the local networks and by using a variety of ways for training, like, online training, seminars, workshops, publications, local networks etc. • The need to prepare of a package with professional monitoring instruments for inclusive education.
V. Projects developed in the area of cultural diversity and social context • Cooperation with UNESCO in the implementation of the project “Inter-cultural education in schools” 2001-2008, which has prepared many training materials and local and national trainers. These materials and trainings dealt with issues of diversity in the inclusive education, bias and other issues and relations between teachers children and parents, as well as other aspects of the life of the children with difficulties in the community • The project “Living together” of British Council has established its local network in the gymnasiums of the country, where cross-curriculum packages are being developed. This package contains 5 modules closely related to diversity and integration of minorities in the social life.
VI. Cooperation • We consider that as fruitful and need to participate in the regional project. This is a good opportunity to exchange and share our positive experiences in this area. • We judge it as positive to participate in a project of Western Balkans and Turkey. The regional project, study visits, development of materials by sharing the experiences are a good opportunity for improvements in this direction. • Participating in this project, would make us increase our professional skills for the implementation of strategies in inclusive education and create schemes and source materials for the teachers and children with such needs • We would suggest the following thematic issues for future cooperation: • In-service teacher’s standards on inclusive education • Establishment of fruitful training schemes and advisory centers for inclusive education • Engagement and inclusion of parents and children for the support of children with difficulties and special needs • Methodologies of adapting the curriculum in regard to children with difficulties • Preparation of source materials related to inclusive education for the teachers and children
The culture of school LEADERS OF SCHOOLS NEED TO: • Demonstrate moral leadership and be committed to the fact that all children belong in schools together • Provide time to meet parents early in the year under the assumption that greater effort at the beginning means less demand later on. • Get involved • Educate themselves • Remember that this person take time • Understand the change process and talk about it • See all children get a quality education through creating a positive caring and safe environment for all by ensuring that all teachers have e chance to grow and become competent in their jobs • Be model to parents • Provide opportunities for teachers and talk to other teachers • Provide teachers time to prepare etc, SO LEADERSHIP IS VERY IMPORTANT
Role of teachers THE SECOND IMPORTANT ROLE IN THIS PROCESS IS THE TEACHER: • They need to take ownership for all the children in their class • Participate in professional development • Work within team to problem solve • Value parental involvement • Involve students in supporting each-other etc. TO PREPARE TEACHER ASSISTANTS TO SUPPORT INCLUSIVE: • To enlarge the role of the pupils to support children with special need in the class and school • To engage the family members to support inclusion ( parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents) INCLUSION CAN NOT BE ACHIEVED ALONE: • So, in our schools we need to create different teams in supporting and collaborating with other members of the school
ROLE of IEP • I.E.P meetings are a required component in school IEP meetings can become positive planning sessions focusing on the inclusion of the children with special needs in the regular classroom • The IEP should be viewed as a fluid document and should not become rigid • Basic components should relate to the student’s present level of educational performance, specific, intervention strategies, long-term and short –term goals, evaluation procedures and review dates. • So, we need to adapt our intervention to situation of the children varying teachingtechniques.