By Laman Ismayilova
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have launched a two-year initiative to improve access to quality education for children with disabilities by partnering with the Azerbaijani Ministry of Education.
The new partnership Initiative will provide opportunities for a number of children with disabilities to cope with the misconceptions and attitudes and let them to receive education at comprehensive schools in the country.
Azerbaijani Education Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said that positive dynamics was observed in the field of education over the past five years since the adoption of "State Strategy for the Development of Education in the Republic of Azerbaijan".
The minister underlined that the quality of education has increased as a result of reforms implemented.
"It is clear to me that everyone has the right to receive inclusive education, to engage in training and lifelong learning to ensure that the knowledge and skills gained by everyone is sufficient to fully participate in public life," said Ambassador Kestutis Yankauskas, Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan.
In his speech, UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan Edward Carwardine stressed that involvement of children with poor health in the quality education process has a very positive impact on their learning and development.
He noted that this is a misleading idea that such children are unable to play an active role in public life.
"We are pleased to work with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the European Union in the implementation of an initiative that will allow children to have access to a greater number of healthcare opportunities, enabling them to access education," he said.
The Partnership Initiative, which started today, aims to develop teachers' skills to provide high-quality inclusive education in comprehensive schools and to create a network of resource and support centers for inclusive education in seven cities of the country - Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja, Guba, Sheki, Agjabedi and Gazakh, as well as to increase public attention and support to the issue of integration.
Within the framework of this initiative, about 1,300 teachers from the Pedagogical University, 100 in-service trainers and more than 300 teachers at the Pedagogical University have been trained in new curricula and teaching methodologies, as well as special training on social change and behavioural changes that are of great importance in the successful implementation of inclusive education in secondary schools.
In addition, more than 10,000 school teachers and directors are expected to benefit from inclusive education training programs.
Overall, the project aims to provide approximately 5,000 children with disabilities with education in general schools by 2020.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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