Enhancing the capacities of policymakers for designing and implementing inclusive education policies

The Project will support and facilitate a multi-level, cross-sectorial regional network (Inclusive PolicyNet) with a constant composition, representing a broad range of stakeholders (policymakers - from education, social protection and healthcare sectors, from the central and local level; practitioners – school principals, members of school boards, representatives of education inspectorates, researchers and teacher educators, civil society representatives, parents) to exchange experience and discuss inclusive education issues, as well as common challenges and promising policy approaches or examples of good/bad practice from the European Union and the region.

Improving the enforcement mechanisms of laws and policies, financial affordability and cost-effectiveness of inclusive education, avoiding politicization of inclusive education, cooperation of education with social care systems, etc. are among the relevant issues that will be discussed by the network.

The Inclusive PolicyNet will meet twice a year and will act as an overarching platform that will bring together representatives of both the Inclusive SchoolNet and Inclusive TeacherNet and other additional stakeholders, in particular from the policy sphere.

Policy makers will be encouraged to consider incorporating inclusive education approaches into their policies and systems based on the experiences and best practices from the pilot schools.


Regional policymakers identify regional priorities

Greater parental involvement, developing a more holistic teaching approach, ensuring constant capacity building of the school and teaching staff and improved monitoring and evaluation of the inclusiveness in schools. These are some of the regional policy recommendations that the members of the PolicyNet working group on secondary education in South Eastern Europe identified as priorities on the first meeting of the group in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 16-18 October 2014.

These recommendations were extracted out of the evidence based suggestions coming from the Baseline study on inclusive policies and practices and should later on result in policy amendments.

The participants of the meeting also had the chance to get a deeper insight into Slovenia’s experience through study visits to several secondary schools in the country, so that they could see for themselves how inclusive education is put into practice, in this particular country.

Snežana Vuković, member of the Steering Board and Policy Team, from Serbia, was impressed with what she saw at the Second Gymnasium in Maribor.

The school has such a holistic approach, that the students’ orientation to high achievement does not eliminate the need for emotional and social support to young people who are separated from their families, who experience the cultural differences, and often do not speak Slovenian. Commitment is present at every step. One teacher said: We, as a community are better, because we have them!”, she says

Borislava Maksimović, Focal Point for Serbia went to the School Centre in Ljubljana where as she says saw a lot of great energy and lots of ideas.

Students recognize how the school invests in them, so they give back. They are accepted well by all with great care. Attentiveness on each step is present within the school and also with those who come as guests. The same goes probably for the children’s parents too. The motto of our Regional project reflects what can be seen in this school!”, noted Maksimović.

You can download here meeting documents:


A step forward for the development of the regional policy recommendations is a giant leap for inclusive education

When Gordana Nestorovska went to primary school, there was no inclusive education whatsoever, not even discussion about it. Children with special needs went to special, completely different schools that the ones she attended. They were not included in regular classes and there was no debate on how to help them.  

“Now children with special needs come to regular schools and we are continuously working to include them as much as possible. There is a significant change of approach in the schools from all those involved. However, a lot more needs to be done. Further education and training for teachers is needed. But if the Regional Policy Recommendations are implemented as planned, a major step forwards will have been made in terms of inclusive education, particularly for children with special needs”, says Nestorovska, a psychologist in the primary school “Joakim Krcovski” in Skopje.

She is one of some 20 teachers, principals, psychologists and other members of the three regional networks on inclusive education that participated in the workshop for the endorsement of the Regional Policy Recommendations for Inclusive Education that was held in Skopje on 13 April 2015. It is one of seven workshops organised by the Joint EU/CoE project Regional Support for Inclusive Education for a final evaluation of the Regional Policy Recommendations for Inclusive education. In total similar workshops were held also in Tirana, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Pristina and Becici.

The goal of these recommendations is to help the development of regional policy changes that will bring greater inclusion in the schools. Once the evaluation meetings are completed, the recommendation will be submitted to beneficiary-level policy makers, who should translate them into policy actions. 

Three networks created with the support from the Project - inclusive PolicyNet, SchoolNet and TeacherNet have jointly worked on this issue through consultation, exchange of knowledge, ideas and experience.

“One of the biggest benefits of this process of creating and evaluating the policy recommendations is the regional cooperation, the networking itself and the establishing of contacts which we continuously use for exchange of experiences and for joint projects. We have already started applying for funds jointly with schools from the region”, says Dushko Perinski, a high school teacher at the Municipal high school “Mosha Pijade” in Tetovo.