04 SES 07 C, Inclusive Policy and Practice: Case studies from Kazakhstan, Serbia, Italy and Spain
Throughout the world, more and more countries have begun to practice inclusive education, according to which every child regardless his abilities can be able to get free quality education in the least restrictive environment.
The first idea of inclusive education came up after the movement of disabled people in the UK, the USA and in Europe, who aimed to set social justice and equal human rights in the society. However, in developed countries such as UK these integral ideas were lost within the technical approaches to inclusion. The government regarded it as a part of school improvement providing only with technical support. While developing countries used inclusive education as a means of economy of service provision for disabled children, which led to low performance and failure in educational systems (Armstrong, Armstrong, & Spandagou, 2010). Despite these failures, the concept of inclusive education was internationalized through the activities of international agencies, which currently have influenced on the system of inclusive education worldwide such as UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank (Armstrong, Armstrong, & Spandagou, 2010).
In order to promote this concept in 1990, the international initiative Education For All was launched which strengthened the focus on children marginalized within education systems (Rouse, & Lapham, 2013). However, the first framework of this movement did not regard disabled children as a vulnerable group. Taking into account that children with disabilities are the most likely to be excluded from education all over the world, EFA reconsidered and added this category of disabled children to the list of children termed “at risk” (OECD, 2009, p. 14).
From that moment, inclusive education ensures an equal access to education for all children regardless their gender, mental and physical abilities and social status in a number of European countries, where children with special needs are successfully mainstreamed into general education schools and have the opportunity to study together with their peers (Armstrong, Armstrong, & Spandagou, 2010). Since having signed the “Dakar Framework of Actions” in 2000, under which it participates in the program “Education For All” (EFA) (UNESCO 2000), Kazakhstan has also joined this worldwide trend of inclusion. Within the last decade, inclusive education of children with special needs has received special attention from the government. It has been prioritized as a new strategic direction of educational policy according to which every child in the country has the right to participate in a suitable learning environment regardless his physical, mental, ethnic, linguistic and socio-economical characteristics. (MoES, 2010).
Currently, the process of implementation of inclusive education is being implemented. However, there is a need to analyze whether this process is going on in an effective and efficient manner. Building on this research question the given paper explores the concept of inclusive education, scrutinizes the enforcement program of inclusion in Kazakhstan, and compares it with the requirements for establishing successful inclusive society in accordance with UNESCO Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education (2009).
This paper consists of four parts. In the introduction, it emphasizes the actuality of the topic, in the second part it describes the idea of inclusive education through the literature review, which will be followed by the comparative analysis. Finally, analyzing all mentioned above parts, conclusions will be made concerning the current development of inclusive education in Kazakhstan and its accordance to the UNESCO guidelines.
The study was carried out as a secondary research, which included literature and document review and comparative methods. First, a review of relevant literature and official state documents was made in order to find out the data on current development of inclusive education in Kazakhstan. The sources of information included official documents such as state programmes, government decrees and statistics, reports and policies of international agencies. Total number of reviewed literature was 21. The data analysis was focused on five major concerns and areas that need to be addressed in order to develop effective strategies for inclusive education set by UNESCO Policy Guidelines on Inclusion (2009), which are: 1) attitudinal changes and policy development 2) ensuring inclusion through early childhood care and education 3) inclusive curricula 4) teachers and teacher education 5) resources and legislation. Moreover, these criteria served as the research questions based on which the study was conducted. The findings were compared with the criteria of UNECSO guidelines on inclusive education and the conclusions were made.
Overall, the process of implementing inclusive education in Kazakhstan is challenging one. Analyzing the steps that Kazakhstan has already done towards inclusive education and comparing them with UNESCO Policy Guidelines it was find out that legislation of inclusive education has clearly set up in the country. However, Kazakhstan still challenges in implementation of new reform initiative. There are many reasons for that. First of all, the most of disabled children are still segregated in special correctional schools which take the roots from Soviet legacy. Secondly, there is a lack of teachers able to teach students with special needs within the context of mainstream schools. In addition, these teachers are failing in adapting the school program in accordance with the needs of every child, which leads to the gap in performance between disabled and non-disabled students. Another hindrance for implementation is a lack of knowledge among society and citizens. Taking into account the nature of Kazakhstani society, it is quite possible that some kinds of misunderstandings between normal and disabled students may happen at the school. However, we should not forget that implementation of inclusive education is a slow process which needs time and patience, and do our best in the development of barrier-free environment for all.
Armstrong, A., Armstrong, D., & Spandagou, I. (2010). Inclusive education: Key themes. Inclusive education: International policy and practice. London: Sage, 3-13. JSC "Information Analytic Center" (JSC “IAC”). (2016). National Report on The State and Development of Educational System of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Astana: IAC. Markova, M., & Sultanaliyeva D. (2013). Parent Activism in Kazakhstan: The promotion of the right to education of children with autism by the Ashyk Alem Foundation. In Rouse, M., & Lapham, K. (2013). Learning to see invisible children: Inclusion of children (pp.51-81). Budapest: Central European University Press. MoES. (Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan) (2009). Recommendations for organization of integrated (inclusive) education for children with special needs. Retrieved 14 September, 2017, from http://special-edu.kz/index.php?do=static&page=nprbase MoES. (2010). State programme of Educational Development for 2011-2020, Approved by Presidential order 1118 on 7 December 2010. Astana: MoES MoES. (2014). Report on the situation of children in Republic of Kazakhstan. Retrieved 26 August, 2017, from https://edu.gov.kz/ru/page/deyatelnost/statistika_i_analitika/natsionalnii_doklad_po_ohrane_prav_detei NAE. (National Academy of Education named after Y.Altynsarin) (2015 a). Conceptual Approach to Development of Inclusive Education. Astana: NAE named after Y.Altynsarin. NAE. (2015 b) Development and introduction of inclusion models for children with special needs into the general educational process. Astana: NAE named after Y.Altynsarin OECD. (2009). Children with Special Education Needs in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Budapest, Hungary: Open Society Institute. OECD. (2017). Higher Education in Kazakhstan 2017, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264268531-en Rouse, M., & Lapham, K. (2013). Learning to see invisible children: Inclusion of children with disabilities in Central Asia. Budapest: Central European University Press. UNESCO. (2009). Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved 26 August, 2017, from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0017/001778/177849e.pdf UNICEF. (2012). The Right of children with disabilities to education: A right based approach to inclusive education. Geneva: UNICEF. Retrieved 1 September, 2017, from https://www.unicef.org/eca/UNICEF_Right_Children_Disabilities_En_Web.pdf
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