Is it fair that Inclusive schools does not include children with Down Syndrome in Kazakhstan?

http://http://www.google.kz/imgres?imgurl=http://d1435t697bgi2o.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/social-exclusion.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.psmag.com/navigation/business-economics/dont-work-on-your-401k-those-days-you-feel-left-out-64114/&h=400&w=600&tbnid=aXIVDN_wTM_uQM:&zoom=1&docid=9lsR75pRr3vTnM&ei=E8TAVLrKOqPuyQOWr4KQAQ&tbm=isch&ved=0CFcQMygwMDA We all know that by 2020 70% of schools should be inclusive. But, have you ever thought about who will attend this school? What type of disability among children will deserve to be known as “educable”? Few days ago I met one woman. She has a four-year old daughter with Down syndrome. To my surprise, her daughter is highly developed; she speaks, understands and does things just as other kids are doing.  I had a great conversation with that woman, we had one thing in common (beside of being mothers of girls with Down syndrome). Similarly to me she had negative experience with Psychological- Medical and Pedagogical Commission (further PMPC). She asked advice, as PMPC did not want to send her daughter to the advanced special group in the kindergarten (integrated groups in the kindergarten are not similar, one group is attended by speechless children, another –advanced, by children with minor delayments), and further, even if the girl will continue to make progress in her development, PMPC denied to send her to inclusive school. They convinced their rejection with facts that children with Down syndrome has psychological problems and their presence among typically developed children is unsafe for latter, moreover legislation system of Kazakhstan do not allow children with such diagnosis attend normal or inclusive school. Overall, having being humiliated, poor woman decided to move to Russia, where her daughter can easily attend inclusive school. http://www.google.kz/imgres?imgurl=http://www.corporate-adviser.com/pictures/620xAny/0/3/3/2077033_Screen-Shot-2014-02-06-at-18.01.40.png&imgrefurl=http://www.corporate-adviser.com/group-risk/group-risk-features/exclusion-confusion/2006377.article&h=371&w=620&tbnid=tPDgXE-CpYW_qM:&zoom=1&docid=FbJRdkeFYkhgCM&ei=E8TAVLrKOqPuyQOWr4KQAQ&tbm=isch&ved=0CCYQMygMMAw Currently, Psychological-medical- and- pedagogical commission (PMPC) is the key stakeholder in special education in Kazakhstan. The PMPC is responsible for diagnosis, assessment, and determination of treatment, training and education. They develop individual programs for each child, and monitor their progress. PMPC provides assessment for all children after they are 4 year old, and before other transition within the educational system. In other words, PMPC makes decision, whether a child with disability can attend special school or his developmental level is low. In another words, it is the organization, which provides individual approach in choosing the educational niche for children with disabilities. Let me clarify one thing, we all think that children with special needs are covered with special education, because all children must attend school because it is obligatory. But unfortunately, children with special have to prove PMPC that they are knowledgeable and deserve place in special school and kindergarten. So by looking to the answers of that woman’s questions, I started skimming different types of documents and laws, and there were no word in them, that children with Down syndrome cannot attend the inclusive schools. It was unfair from the side of PMPC not to include this girl to the special advanced group in the kindergarten, and this would be severe discrimination to reject sending her to inclusive school, even if she will have required abilities. I am finishing this blog with a sad sense, because there are still unwritten rules discriminating vulnerable children and excluding them from proper education and society. Can we as future leaders challenge this system or not????

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2 thoughts on “Is it fair that Inclusive schools does not include children with Down Syndrome in Kazakhstan?

  1. Let me share one of my experience. In Semey, the city in the East Kazakhstan region, there is an organization called the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan. This organization in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan (The MoES RK provided funding) organized summer classes where children with different impairments including Down syndrome studied together with non-disabled children. Several teachers with experience of working with disabled children were invited for this work. One of those teachers was I. I asked myself, why me? I have never had experience of working in inclusive education. However, enthusiasm of my colleagues motivated me to try. Every day we spent hours teaching, educating and brining up that kind, open and curious children. This experience was beneficial and helpful for both: disabled and non – disabled children. It was progress for the children with special needs because they improved their abilities to speak, their speech became clear and structured, and their self – confidence and self- esteem were increased. The “ordinary” children learned to be attentive and helpful. All of them made friends. It was not easy work. We had some challenges in the beginning when non – disabled children were looking at their classmates with impairments keeping silence and being a bit surprised. Some lessons later, they understood that their “not ordinary” classmates are the same as they are themselves with only some differences. Parents’ help was tremendous. Feeling great happiness and profound gratitude to teachers and each other, they participated in all classes and showed support to teachers and children. Although this project was during the summer period only, it was success and memorable experience. That experience shows that children with impairments can study with “ordinary” children. If we provide all necessary facilities: special equipment, resources, and staff educated to work in inclusive education, then, there is a real possibility for children with special needs to study with non – disabled children. I was very proud of being part of that wonderful project.

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  2. Aizhan, what a terrible story!
    Now I realized that this PMPC must be completely reorganised. I also think that all sessions of this PMPC must be recorded and checked afterwards. This case is nothing else but abuse of rights. PMPC representer has no right to lie using deformed laws. I think it may be not only unfair, but also illicit.

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