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NUS Reform Roadmap: Experts discuss inclusivity of education

30 April 2021

The non-governmental organization Re:Osvita conducted an expert discussion on the section “Inclusion in Education” of the Roadmap of the New Ukrainian School, which took place online on April 30, 2021. Lilia Hrynevych, Hanna Novosad, Larysa Shevchuk, Olena Martinchuk took part in it.

The authors Natalia Sofiy and Oksana Fedorenko presented a part of the Roadmap, which analyzes the state of inclusive education in primary and secondary schools, describes the problems and explaines why the modern school does not meet the requirements of proper inclusive education.

Lilia Hrynevych stressed the need to use a broader view of inclusion, and in the analysis of the situation stressed the feasibility of comparison with 2016. “Since this is the Roadmap for NUS reform, which began in 2016, it is necessary to count down and compare the changes since then. After all, an inclusive subvention, IRCs – have been introduced for the first time, and it is necessary to record such results. This will demonstrate significant dynamics, the need for its support and further monitoring of changes, “said Lilia Hrynevych.

In the section on the growth of the number of inclusive education specialists in NUS, according to experts, it is necessary to raise the issue of staffing. In particular, Olena Martynchuk noted the absence of a special teacher position in the classifier of professions and the need to introduce a state order for the training of such specialists. The experts agreed that the document should point out the importance of developing a professional standard for special education teachers. In addition, the issue of a teacher’s assistant, his/her status, the division of responsibilities with a special teacher require detailed coverage.

Anna Novosad raised the issue of assessing learning progress of the students with special educational needs, providing appropriate recommendations to address this issue, as well as the feasibility of monitoring the implementation of inclusion in general.

 “The monitoring function could be performed by the State Service for Education Quality, which is authorized to monitor the quality of education in general. However, this will require the development of certain tools and training, “explained Anna Novosad.

Experts noted that the problem of institutional changes in the system of inclusive education needs more detailed coverage. “Regional centres for inclusive education, which now exist as structural units of in-service training institutions, do not provide quality assistance to the IRCs. There is no single approach to quality, there are no samples of comprehensive assessments and each region prescribes its own methodological advice,” said Larysa Shevchuk. In this regard, experts agreed that it is necessary to consider creating special coordination centers.

Oksana Fedorenko raised the issue of the correlation between inclusive and special education. “In this context, the experience of European countries is interesting. As an indicator for assessing the effectiveness of the special education institution, they use the coefficient of inclusiveness – how many children from such an institution have switched to inclusive education, “said Oksana Fedorenko.

Among other recommendations that experts have provided to the Roadmap’ part – improving the subvention for inclusive education, forms of individual development programs, a tool for comprehensive assessments provided by the IRCs.

The discussion took place within the project “Support and public monitoring of further implementation of reforms in school education through the development and advocacy of a roadmap of the New Ukrainian School at the level of basic and upper secondary education (grades 5-12)” with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation.