Maria, we're humbled that our idea based on the existing tool has inspired your idea/project. It's very interesting to learn that you have informal schools whereas this is impossible in Kyrgyzstan (well there are informal kindergartens but no schools definitely :). So this is much more challenging. Wish you and your team all the best!
Hello OpenIdeo team, there is a positive "trend" among politicians towards inclusive education (currently the capital is leading) because of increasing pressure from activists, parents, community groups, established NGOs and international organizations.
During our last 3-year project we were the only NGOs in the country that worked in all 7 regions of Kyrgyzstan with local community groups, NGOs and local authorities including education departments. We contributed to forming of the national network called Janyryk of parent-led NGOs in the country (consisting of more than 33 organizations) in 2011 which has become the voice of parents and is recognized by the officials, government and members of parliament. We have established contacts with the capital's city education department as well as with the leading specialist on inclusive education and the psychological medical pedagogical consultations of the Ministry of Education.
Kyrgyzstan's Constitution, the UN's Child's Rights Convention (ratified in 1994), The law on rights and guarantees for persons with disabilities (2008), the Law on preschool education (has inclusive education term) mention children's rights to education (the law on education will include that too soon). Ratified international treaties have priority over local laws. Nevertheless, the lack of clear mechanisms and funding slow down the reform in the education sector which has one of the largest funding in the budget (along with social protection).
The idea design has been influenced by: - previous projects, survey, and research done within our/partner projects on access to education for children with disabilities, - last project which successfully transferred several children from day care centers to public schools, and we followed those kids and provided individual assistants for a year (Soros got interested hopefully and is considering support to the continuation of the project for the next year) - past initial discussions we had with two schools where the Index was introduced, - subsequent meetings with and presentations about Index for the Soros Foundation, - small multi-sectoral working meetings in 2015 and 2016 which included the Ministry of Education, parent-led NGOs, international organizations working on inclusive education, where we presented about the Index, - organized recently a focus group with parents, teachers and Kelechek Plus team to work out the User experience map.
The Index for Inclusion is the only tool that does not require external support and funding. It first of all helps participants learn about their problems, prioritize and solve those they can with their resources within the school and in the community (for example, in one case children said that blackboards were put up a bit high on the walls so the school hang them down closer to kids; in another toilet locks were fixed and etc.) Every year the school learns to solve more complex and strategic problems. In other cases they will consult their parents and perhaps involve local authorities, NGOs and businesses to work on certain issues with them. The Index opens up their eyes to their strenghts and opportunities taking into account weaknesses and issues.
Of course, we will need political and regulative support from the Ministry and the city department. We'll need new adaptive curriculum, and methodology. These are been done with the help of international organizations (such as the EC and WB) and we'll eventually get there. One of the main challenges for us is teachers' commitment (they are overloaded), as well as their's and students' and parents' (of non-disabled) attitude. Parents of children with disabilities often come the first barriers to including their children into society. More of them are getting out and some taking kids to public schools but many drop out as they don't have simple support which in most cases is not costly at all.
We'd love to have general and specific training for teachers and students to change attitudes, and some educational materials and methodology would come handy. These and many other challenges will be solved once the school fully adopts the Index and integrates priorities into its school annual plans. 2-3 years of helping them and monitoring the Index implementation is a good time to make it a healthy "habit".
The majority of 20,000 kids with disabilities according to the Association of Parents of Disabled Children, as well as members of the Janyryk national network, are confined to their homes or yards. Although many say now that more and more parents are now taking their kids outside of their homes. There are only about 70 day or full-time care (rehabilitation/habilitation) centers and the absolute majority of them are not staffed with professionals (they can cover about 2000 children), these are as usual their mothers who look after their kids at home and do something with them and others in day centers.