Following the selection of 49 pilot schools for the Joint European Union and Council of Europe Project "Regional Support for Inclusive Education", members of the project team have now visited every single school to see at what stage of inclusiveness each one is.
The schools are based across South East Europe, with 7 in each of the following: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and Kosovo* .
In recent weeks, the project have team visited all 49 Pilot schools in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and Kosovo* . They were selected as pilot schools of the Joint European Union and Council of Europe Project "Regional Support for Inclusive Education".
During the visit to each school, we held two-hour meetings with nominated school teams, consisting of members with various background - the school directors, teachers, school board members, parent council representatives, pedagogues or psychologists. The meeting was to give the Project overview and learn more about inclusiveness and the challenges that the schools are facing in their everyday work.
The team observed that the schools were highly motivated and involved in the Project. Some good practices were already in place such as: implementation of the individual education plans, inclusion of different ethnica and religious groups in the teaching process, and in some cases presence of the teaching assistants providing support to some students. However inclusion of vulnerable children was still an issue in every school.
All schools raised the question of how to support and work with children from economically/socially challenged families and children with different abilities and learning difficulties. Most of them were concerned about basic needs, such as infrastructure, heating or transport of students to school. They also expressed a great need for further training and more teaching assistants.
As a follow up, schools learned about the details of the project, upcoming events of the Inclusive School Network, establishment of the Inclusive Teacher Network and other project activities. The overall conclusion is that the visits to schools, besides being educational and very useful for the project development, were also very inspirational and fed the team with energy and motivation for new achievements and challenges.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.