The results of the research conducted by the ASPU Research Centre for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies on the initiative of Armenian Caritas benevolent NGO were presented at ASPU.
Within the framework of the Programme “Inclusive and Equitable Quality education for All,” a study was conducted in some 114 schools and 11 regional pedagogical and psychological support centres in Lori, Tavush and Syuniak marzes (provinces). The programme was implemented from March to December 2018-2019 with a view to identify the challenges in inclusive education, study the necessary conditions and activity of regional pedagogical and psychological centres.
Lusine Arakelyan, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, stressed the importance of the research and said it will help the other marzes to switch to overall inclusion more easily and with fewer obstacles. “Human beings have unlimited capacities regardless of their minor physical disabilities. Today I was convinced of it once again when I attended an event organized in one of the special schools,” she said advising everyone to view inclusion as a chance to return the children their ability to live and create. Lusine Arakelyan assured everyone that the Ministry is on the right track with its policy of self-criticism, foreseeing, revising, preventing possible shortcomings, correcting deficiencies and keeping children’s interests on the agenda.
ASPU Rector Ara Yeremyan wished the workshop participants productive work and stressed that the participants are really concerned about the issue. They are representatives of NGOs, schools, state agencies and students. The vice-rector expressed hope that the workshop would give an opportunity to analyze and identify the challenges in the education and propose possible solutions.
Father Mashtots Zahteryan, representative of the Armenian Caritas Chairman, gave his blessing to the workshop participants. He stressed that for centuries Armenians, as a Christian nation, have sought to turn the inability into efficiency and create a healthy environment, making use of the possibilities of science. "We believe that the needy are those who have a strong will. They are the people who will become an important part of society, with our support,” he said.
Gayane Norikyan of the Armenian Caritas NGO presented the mission of the NGO, and its important role in the field. When speaking about the main 6 strategic directions, Gayane Norikayan also presented the achievements of 2017-2019.
Marianna Harutyunyan, Head of the International Cooperation Unit at ASPU, who is also in charge of the Programme “Evaluation of Overall Inclusion Process in Tavush, Lori and Syunik Marzes", presented the results of the programme and added that the stakeholders' opinions and suggestions will enable the state and the other marzes to implement overall inclusion with fewer drawbacks.
The latter added that the ASPU Research Centre for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies was opened as a result of cooperation with the University of Minnesota under the auspices of UNICEF with the aim to conduct research in the areas related to disability and community inclusion, to propose solutions and recommendations. The Centre also carries out scientific, educational and methodological research, the results of which will be introduced in the field of education.
The speeches were followed by discussions. At the end of the meeting, the participants were introduced to the International Index for Inclusion tool translated by Armenian Caritas which is designed to assess the necessary conditions at schools for the inclusion of children with disabilities.