What You Need to Know about Inclusive Education

What You Need to Know about Inclusive Education

What happened?

By 2025, Armenia must transition to universal inclusive education. In 2005, this idea was marked by the adoption of the corresponding law.

Twelve years later, inclusive education is implemented in Armenia in 260 general educational institutions (18% of the schools in the country) and includes 6,700 children.

What is inclusive education?

Inclusive education is an approach whereby children with and without disabilities learn together — through the provision of special conditions.

According to the law on the education of people with special educational needs, what sort of education is envisioned?
  • general (in public or private schools)
  • homeschooling (if because of health reasons, the person in question temporarily or permanently is unable to attend classes)
  • special educational institutions (which implement educational programs, by providing special educational conditions)
  • medical institutions (if the individual is receiving long-term — no less than 21 days — in-patient treatment)
What is the state doing for people with special educational needs?

It is creating relevant conditions (ramps, accessible washrooms, gymnasium, classes, furniture, food services, and so on)

It is providing a professional team (inclusive education teacher, special education pedagogue psychologist, speech therapist).

Whom is inclusive education aimed at?

Inclusive education is aimed at children with severe speech disorders; phonetic and general speech underdevelopment; hearing, visual, intellectual development, and musculoskeletal system problems; psychological development problems; and behavioral and emotional disorders. 

Who decides that a child needs special educational conditions?

Being developed for this purpose are state medical-psychological-pedagogical assessment centers, which draw the relevant conclusion. And according to their conclusion, the governing state body (for example, in Yerevan, city hall) certifies the child’s need for special educational conditions. The certificate is the basis to choosing the child’s educational institution.  

The child can be either homeschooled or registered at a school. The main barrier is physical and psychological. Parents are often afraid that at a general education school the child’s free movement won’t be assured and the teachers and other students will display inadequate behavior.

The professional qualifications and experience of the teachers’ special assistants should mitigate these concerns.

What rights do people with disabilities have?

In the big sense, the child has the right to be a full member of society, while the state commits to creating conditions to realize this right.

The first step is ensuring free preschool, elementary, basic, and secondary education, which, with some exceptions, is equal for all citizens of Armenia.

If young Armenian citizens who need special care would like, they can within the scope of a state order (or on other privileged grounds defined by law) receive vocational, higher and post-graduate professional education.