Ensuring The Right To Education For Children In Moldova
The Alliance of Active NGOs in the field of Child and Family Social Protection (APSCF) plays an important role in monitoring the respect of child rights and in ensuring the respect of their rights in the Republic of Moldova, particularly the right to education. During 2018, APSCF developed and conducted awareness-raising campaigns and advocacy events to ensure quality education, as well as increasing the responsibility of public authorities to ensure the access to inclusive and quality education.
On November 12, 2018, at the APSCF’s initiative, a thematic workshop on the role of networks in advocating for better social inclusiveness of children through respect of human rights, particularly the right to education, was included in the agenda of the Black Sea NGOs Forum. The workshop took place in Brussels and was attended by European partners, development partners, and civil society representatives from Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey and other countries. During the workshop participants debated on the current regional context on human rights, particularly the right to education, and how CSOs can address the main challenges by identifying opportunities for further regional cooperation and synergies. At the event, APSCF presented and distributed the position paper ”Promoting inclusive education in the Republic of Moldova: clear objectives, strong commitments, responsible policies”. The document contains a series of recommendations to authorities, based on the sociological study „Implementation of inclusive education in the Republic of Moldova”. More information about Black Sea NGOs Forum and the workshop organised by APSCF can be found here.
Also, ensuring the right to education for children with disabilities and perspectives for the effective implementation of inclusive education in the Republic of Moldova were the main topics discussed in Chisinau at the National Conference “Ensuring the Right to Education for Children with Disabilities” held on 5 December 2018. The event was organised by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Research (MECC) together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF Moldova) and the APSCF in the context of the implementation of the Inclusive Education Development Program in the Republic of Moldova for the years 2011-2020.
The conference gathered around 250 participants – policy makers, development partners, local public authorities, academics, national, and international experts. The conference aimed to strengthen the engagement of all actors involved in ensuring the continued development of inclusive education according to internationally ratified documents by presenting the results obtained at national level. The event contributes to raising awareness of the inclusion of children, pupils, and students with disabilities in all educational institutions in the Republic of Moldova.
The State Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Research, Andrei Chistol, said, ‘Today, as never before, education and the related systems are constantly adapting to the achievement of quality education for all. No child can be excluded from the education system due to disability. Inclusive education requires the recognition of changes within the entire education system. We agree that there can be no two education systems: general schools and special schools. We acknowledge that we are not in a position to implement this provision immediately as long as we fail to achieve our commitment to ensuring the availability, accessibility, acceptability, and adaptability of the education system as a whole’.
UNICEF Country Representative in Moldova Desiree Jongsma remarked that today, almost half of all caregivers and students accept children with disabilities in the usual classes. ‘Six years ago, only a quarter of them were in favor of inclusive education. It is a positive appreciation for the education system. Parents see that schools are more prepared to include children with special educational needs’, stated Desiree Jongsma.
‘Education was never more important than in our time. Governments and Families are investing more and more in this process. And our role – civil society organisations – is to support this process when needed or to signal when a child does not have access to quality education, particularly in the case of children with disabilities, and their parents, to demand compliance with this as essential’, said Liliana Rotaru, President of APSCF.
At the end of the meeting, the participants adopted a resolution whereby authorities, institutions in the fields of education, social assistance and health, parents, and civil society members undertake to work together to eliminate barriers and create opportunities for access to education for all children.
According to the data from the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Research, 9952 children with special educational needs are currently included in the general education institutions of the Republic of Moldova – about 45% more than in 2013, due to their identification through the child development evaluation mechanism.
At the end of the conference, for the third consecutive year the 2018 Gala of Inclusive Education took place. The “Alexandra Grajdian” trophy for COURAGE AND INNOVATION in the promotion of inclusive education was awarded to the “Alexandru Donici” kindergarten and primary school from Cahul. Six other educational institutions received special mentions for working with children with special educational needs.
Credit: Moldova coalition (APSCF)