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Promoting Inclusive Education in Serbia and Montenegro

One of the most important steps towards developing inclusive education and a model for better understanding disabilities is to empower youth with disabilities for self-advocacy, prepare them for continued education, and help them pursue their rights.

The Association of Students with Disabilities carried out a 15-month project titled “Promotion of Inclusive Education in Serbia and Montenegro,” which aimed to promote human rights for youths with disabilities in the field of education. The project’s target groups were high school students with disabilities, who could become future university students as well as leaders of disability movements.

The association conducted a survey to examine educational opportunities and obstacles for youth with disabilities in secondary schools. A questionnaire was developed to assess the accessibility of schools and curriculum, and possible discrimination. Five survey teams contacted 502 secondary schools (including eight special schools) and interviewed 484 students with different type of disabilities. Geographically, the survey covered seven regions: Belgrade, Vojvodina, central Serbia, western Serbia, eastern Serbia, southern Serbia, and Montenegro.

The results have shown a need for raising awareness in society and at schools regarding the situation of children with disabilities, their special needs for accessibility, appropriate curriculum, and possible discrimination. The survey results were presented and disseminated at an international conference on inclusive education in Belgrade in November 2006. Attendees included NGO representatives, primary and secondary school teachers, and special educators from five countries (Croatia, Montenegro, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Serbia). The survey results were also presented in a press conference, and in various media.

A summary of the results is available for download.

Several ministries in both countries helped in communicating with the schools. The survey provided a good opportunity to raise awareness of the existence of children with disabilities and promote a new model addressing disability issues and inclusive education.

The project was supported within the framework of the RE: FINE grant fund of the Open Society Education Support Program.

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