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  • Date: 18-10-2022, 21:46

Inaccessibility of Inclusive Education

 18-10-2022, 21:46    Category: English » Media Diversity


Inaccessibility of Inclusive Education

Attempts to introduce inclusion into schools have faced risks from bureaucracy to violation of rights and lack of safe psychological environment.

13-year-old Nazira (not her real name) uses hearing aid that help her to better understand the world around. In early childhood, the girl had a hearing implant surgery to compensate her hearing loss.

 

 

From grade one, she studied in the special boarding school for hearing impaired children of Bishkek as she was not admitted to regular schools because of her disability. Five years later, Nazira’s mother decided to improve her development.

 

 

"I needed to place my daughter into a speaking environment,” mother said. "There [in the special school], they taught her only finger spelling [a special form of communication that used fingers – note] and sign language as there was no speaking environment.”

 

 

Nazira’s parents found a boarding school in Bishkek not far from their house. This was a secondary school of general education for orphans and children left without parental care. She was taken there for a probationary period of three months and was put into grade four for better adaptation, although she studied in grade six by that time.

 

Nazira’s mother was in constant contact with teachers, was interested in her daughter’s integration into the new environment, her successes in school. The teachers answered positively to all her questions.

 

But one case changed everything: once Nazira dodged lessons and did not return to school for a while. She was searched by parents, teachers, police. When she came home late at night, the psychological condition of the teenager was critical.

According to Nazira, her classmates laughed at her because of her hearing issues and discussed her hearing aid and disability loudly. Girl was shocked by it and could not stay in school anymore.

After the parents asked the administration to explain the incident, they learned that there was decided to suspend the girl for missing lessons. Moreover, the teachers advised taking Nazira to the special boarding school, where she had studied before.

The three laws of Kyrgyzstan ensure access to inclusive education for children with disabilities: "On education and science”, "On preschool education”, and "On rights and guarantees of persons with disabilities”. Inclusion means a form of study when all children study together regardless of their development peculiarities, level of their abilities, and diagnoses.

According to the National Statistical Committee as of March 2021, there are over 32 thousand children with disabilities under 18 in Kyrgyzstan or 1.3 per cent of total number of children of this age group. And only 10 per cent of these 32 thousand children study in special schools.

In 2019, Kyrgyzstan also ratified the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Inclusive Education Development Programme for 2019 to 2023.

However, the specialist point at a range of problems hindering inclusion in schools.

"Many funds together with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic developed standards, methods, individual plans and even pilot projects,” said Almaz Tazhybai, director of the Centre for State Policy Analysis, which studies the enforcement of laws in educational sphere. "But [the Programme] is not yet introduced because of bureaucracy, lack of political will and allegedly because there is no money in the budget.”

Tazhybai cited other cases of violation of children’s and their parents’ rights to inclusion as an example. "Special boards established in every district send children with disabilities to special boarding schools that enrol [children] with references from the ministry of health,” he said.

Many parents want their children to study in schools with others and to have an opportunity to choose a facility of their own choice.

Another problem is the lack of psychologically safe environment in schools of general education. The case with Nazira confirms it. In school, where she tried to study, there was no special child psychologist who can work with disabled children, and teachers failed to integrate Nazira into common school environment.

Bullying by classmates and stigma have almost pushed the hearing-impaired girl to suicide.

"After that case, my daughter wanted to jump down the balcony, I could hardly talk her out of this,” Nazira’s mother said crying.

This article was prepared under the "Promoting media freedom and diversity through reporting on violation of rights and training of media workers in creating sensitive media reports on minority and marginalized groups project” with the financial support of the Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI).

 

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