Armenia adopts universal inclusive education in preschools
YEREVAN, MAY 11, ARMENPRESS. Education authorities say 2021 will see “significant work” in the direction of introducing universal inclusive education system in Armenian preschools. The transition will be phased, according to the deputy education minister Zhanna Andreasyan.
The training of preschool employees, development of modules and relevant toolbox, as well as awareness campaigns will take place this year, and starting from 2022 the universal inclusive principle will be launched in the provinces of Syunik, Lori, Tavush and in Yerevan. The other remaining provinces will shift to the new system in 2023.
“The important part here is for the preschools to be attached to the regional pedagogical-psychological support centers so that it’s clear which centers are working with the preschools. Therefore, we are also going to change the funding procedure of these centers taking into account that they are going to render services to the preschools. The new procedure is in the final stage of circulation and is submitted to the prime minister’s office,” Zhanna Andreasyan, the Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport told ARMENPRESS.
Since the law envisages funding increase for including children with special needs to preschools, the education authorities have also developed and introduced a new funding procedure, which is already submitted to the prime minister’s office as well.
“These changes will enable to improve the conditions on one hand from professional perspective and on the other in terms of infrastructure. I attach much importance to awareness campaigns. We must ensure broad public awareness so that citizens get informed and benefit from these opportunities. Training of preschool employees is also important, annually at least 1/5th of the employees must undergo training and this is going to be a mandatory component in the inclusive system,” Andreasyan said.
Andreasyan reiterated that the government’s policy in this sector is to raise and enhance the quality of preschools. She mentioned the recent Cabinet decision which authorized the construction of 10 modular kindergartens with modern infrastructures in full compliance with needs of children. Andreasyan says the 21 preschools which were opened across Armenia in 2020 are all equipped to meet the needs of children with special needs.
“We must have the kind of conditions that parents of children with special needs have the opportunity to take their child to any kindergarten they want. The same goes for schools.”
Speaking about stereotypes regarding inclusiveness among the society, Andreasyan says some change is observed in the recent years, albeit insufficient.
Reporting by Anna Gziryan
Editing and Translating by Stepan Kocharyan