Exclusion of children with disabilities in residential care from the education system
19. aprila 2016.
Almost 60% of children with disabilities in residential care in Serbia are excluded from the educational system.
Children with disabilities in residential care do not fulfill their right to education on an equal basis with others. Additional aggravating circumstances are present such as a limited number of schools that cooperate with the institutions, a limited number of places in school for children from homes, architectural barriers, lack of additional support. All the children included in the research attend schools for children with disabilities; specifically no child attends a regular school. However, the barriers that are even more serious are negative attitudes of employees in residential institutions and schools towards education of children with disabilities and the prevailing medical model in the assessment of a child’s needs.
Read about the causes of exclusion and attitudes of employees in residential institutions and education on the right to education of children with disabilities in our latest publication “Exclusion and Segregation and of Children with Disabilities in Residential Institutions in the Education System.”
If a child is placed in residential institution, he/she is most probably excluded from education. If he/she is in one of the institutions that include children in the education system, the chances to enrol the school are minimal. This will happen only if an expert team decides to enrol this very child in school, if the school has sufficient space, if the child is independently mobile and not a wheelchair user, if there are no health problems. Even when all of these barriers are removed, only every fifth child is enrolled in school. The child will definitely attend school for the education of children with disabilities, and will probably be in a special class, designed only for children with disabilities from residential institutions. The focus of education is likely to be on individual work and therapies. The child will experience going to school as a reward, and employees see it as socialisation. Learning will be of lesser importance.
The research „Education and Community Living as a Precondition of Equality of Children with Disabilities“ was carried out in the period from May to October 2015 within the project „Children with Disabilities in Residential Institutions as Victims of Multiple Discrimination“. The aim of the project is to contribute to the fight against discrimination against children with disabilities in the education system, and it is implemented by the Mental Disabilities Rights Initiative MDRI-S in partnership with the Initiative for Inclusion VelikiMali and in cooperation with the Commissioner for Protection of Equality. The project is supported by the European Union under the Civil Society Facility 2013 and the Serbian Government Office for Cooperation with Civil society. The contents of the publication are the responsibility of the authors and the Mental Disability Rights Initiative MDRI-S and do not reflect the views and opinion of the European Union.
Translation of this report into English was supported by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The views appearing in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or any of its entities.