Success for Inclusive Education in Tajikistan

Successful inclusion of children with disabilities in Dushanbe school, Tajikistan

Children with mild and moderate disabilities are included in mainstream classes.

Children with mild and moderate disabilities are included in mainstream classes.

Since September 2007 the parents of children with Cerebral Palsy have been holding meetings in the mainstream school № 28 Firdausi district of Dushanbe, Tajikistan to discuss their difficulties and barriers in the process for inclusion of their children in the school.  Parents and teachers have been doing their best to help their children to integrate into the new environment since then. Now the school has 1845 students, and now due to the parents’ and teachers’ insistence and support, 20 children with mild and moderate disabilities (Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism) between ages 7 and 14 were included in mainstream classes (from grades 1 to 9).

In August 2011, the parents registered the Rushdi Inclusia in Dushanbe as an NGO with the aim to help more children with disabilities get access to education through inclusive education. Our organization focuses on awareness raising about inclusion.  We provide information about the social model of disability among parents and professionals. We share our experience about practical skills needed in the work with children with disabilities in a mainstream classroom. In addition, we assist the teachers to adopt this approach and to create a learning environment and curriculum suitable for inclusion of children with disabilities.

The main challenge we are facing is the lack of tolerance and knowledge about disabilities and the inclusion of children with disabilities among mainstream teachers, social workers and in the government structures.

This year, the students with disabilities have got the opportunity to take all state exams similarly to their classmates. They took part in written and spoken examinations, such subjects as Russian, Biology, and Mathematics. The examination programs were adapted for them. Like any other children, the exams gave the opportunity for these students to feel responsibility and excitement, feeling of fully participating and included in school life. So, though officially these children are free of exams, this year they went through tests at which they received their «well-deserved» marks.

An 8th grade student, Ravshan has recently started to communicate with his peers, shown interest in friendship and begun to ask questions, and at the exam he presented his good knowledge of the Russian language. Aziz, an 9th grade student, in spite of his poor speaking skills, managed to develop good relationships with his classmates, they understand each other, make jokes and communicate effectively. These stories have convinced the teachers, who initially participated in this process due to the parents` insistence on inclusion of these children based on their right to education, can have positive impact on the development of these children.

First in Tajikistan, we have launched a so-called `resource` class which aim to improve conditions in the school for accepting children with more severe disabilities who can better improve their academic and social skills in inclusive classes. It has been proved that children with disabilities could reach their all potential only living in family and study in mainstream community and school with appropriate support and assistance. Children from all grades attend the resource class where through targeted activities aim they will have the chance to change their opinions and attitudes towards the children with disabilities.

We, the parents participating in the Rushdie Inclusia NGO strongly believe that we can contribute to a better future of our children with disabilities in the mainstream schools and continue to work for this through advocating for inclusive education.




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