On March 29, the first National Resource Center for Inclusive Education was opened in Minsk, which was the result of the joint work of the Ministry of Education, Belarusian State Pedagogical University (BSPU) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Belarus.
The Center is meant to become a unique unit of the BSPU Institute for Inclusive Education which will not only ensure purposeful and coordinated implementation of best practices in the educational process, as well as ensure accumulation, systematization and exchange of experience in the sphere of implementing inclusive education in the country's specialized institutions, but will also promote the idea of access to education for all children.
Every child should have an opportunity to realize their full potential, and the movement towards inclusive society starts with education.
The inclusion of children with disabilities is one of the main priorities of the Ministry of Education and UNICEF in Belarus. The emergence of the Resource Center is a new stage in the development of the inclusive education system in Belarus. The activities of the Center and the Institute for Inclusive Education, in general, are focused on working towards the creation of “schools for all”— schools that accept each child, welcome differences, support learning and respond to individual needs.
The Center is equipped with special equipment for working with different categories of children. For example, there are FM-systems for children with hearing impairment and ultrasonic canes for children with visual impairment. The latter is useful for teaching children to move around safely; teachers and parents can also learn how to use a cane so that they are able to assist children when necessary. There is a verticalizer in the Center for working with children with musculoskeletal disorders, as well as a variety of communicators to speak with those who can not talk.
The Center will hold seminars for students and teachers, workshops for parents, remedial classes for children. The center opens on request. This means that parents and teachers are free to sign up for consultations or specific classes.
The National Resource Center for Inclusive Education is located in the BSPU campus building #7 at vul. F. Skaryny, 13. More information about the Center can be found here.
The National Resource Center for Inclusive Education aims to achieve five objectives:
1. To train prospective and practicing teachers and to upgrade their qualification, as well as to develop educational materials that will meet the needs of Belarusian schools;
2. To develop the inclusive education infrastructure at the local and state levels;
3. To continue improving legislation related to the issue of inclusion;
4. To establish an open, coordinated partnership with all the educational process stakeholders;
5. To eliminate the stigma against children with disabilities.
UNICEF in the region is actively working on the implementation of inclusive education practices, and Belarus has the potential to become a leader in this sphere among the Eastern European states.