ERG SES C 05, Poster Session
Issues which relate with the education and the vocational training of people with disabilities have preoccupied academics and researchers from different disciplines for many years. Indeed scholars in the sphere of pedagogics, sociology & psychology have approached and have tried to provide answers to fundamental questions regarding the establishment of the most appropriate conditions of education, intervention and rehabilitation of such population (Barnes & Mercer, 2003). At the same time, in the level of state preoccupation, almost universally, all countries of western world in the last years have sought to adopt a series of educational policies and initiatives aimed at the elimination of discriminations and the ensuring of equal opportunities in education (Barton & Armstrong, 2007).
In Greece, a significant development in this direction has started to emerge since the early ’80s when for the first time we saw established a State commitment to provide education for students with disabilities (Zoniou- Sideri, 1999). Since then, particular representations have been made in both institutional and legislative respects regarding this issue, while significant changes have been made regarding the concepts and the attitudes towards people with disabilities. Despite this mobility, however, significant objections continue to exist in the scientific community regarding the effectiveness of certain education policies, adopted by the system, while at the same time major deficiencies and shortcomings are observed in educational practice (Vlachou, 2006).
In the cultural environment of these conclusions, many contemporary scholars support the view that in present times -perhaps more than ever- is required an adoption of a stance of critical reflection on the experience of the country in the sphere of secondary education & training of people with disabilities (Zoniou-Sideri et. al., 2006). In other words, a detailed examination of the following is required: a) the social, political and cultural conditions that have shaped the current concepts regarding disabilities in Greece and driven the adoption of specific practices and b) aspects of effectiveness (or non-effectiveness) of the adopted practices and existing training structures for the people with disabilities.
Despite the importance of the adoption of this critical stance, in Greek literature, the area of vocational training of people with disabilities remains un-researched while there is also a comparative deficit in the level of survey research -as well as social historical studies- that may reveal significant dimensions of this issue.
The research, which is presented in this context and which will aim to reduce this deficit, constitutes an element of a broader research in progress contacted as part of a PhD thesis. Specifically, its aim is the following: a) to track the course of special education and vocational training of people with disabilities in Greece and to highlight the social, political and cultural conditions which have shaped the concepts regarding the disabilities and driven the adoption of specific practices in this sphere and b) to describe and evaluate aspects of the prevailing situation in this context.
In this framework, the main research questions which are posed are the following:
a) In which manner has the state approached institutionally the issue of education & vocational training of people with disabilities?
b) What role did they play regarding the formulation of specific concepts and the adoption of specific practices, parameters like the international declarations regarding the education of people with disabilities, the internal dynamics of the educational agencies and institutions, the prevailing social organisation models as well as the legislative socio/educational requirements of the European Union.
c) Which are the attitudes and the concepts of students, academics and education officers concerning the function and the effectiveness of the educational frameworks in which students with disabilities study?
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