In Kazakhstan, today more than 7000 children with special educational needs (SEN) are enrolled in home-schooling (Sultan and Samenbetov, 2015). That is the public information available in mass media. In reality, there might be twice more children who are being taught at home conditions segregated from their peers. So, what is home-schooling? How is it defined in Kazakhstan? What are the drawbacks or benefits of it? My post reveals the insights of home-schooling and how it contradicts the idea of inclusive education (which welcomes all children to family atmosphere at school).
Home-schooling is a type of individual education received at home with the help of assigned teachers. The learning process is carried out according to an individual educational plan for learners who cannot study in mainstream schools due to health reasons (Kokhan, 2012).
Children with SEN are usually diagnosed by special organization called psychological- medical and pedagogical commission (PMPC). PMPC is a state educational institute which provides assessment and corrective support for children with diverse needs. This organization decides whether a child will be enrolled in a mainstream school or will stay at home-schooling with the parents’ agreement. The children, who are defined to receive individual education, then are attached to the special (correctional) educational organizations. In the absence of special educational institutions nearby, the schooling is carried out at home by local mainstream school teachers. Home-schooling is absolutely free of charge and monitored by PMPC and local departments of education (Decree of MoES, 2004).
At the first glance, the individual education at home may seem to have many advantages: home-schooled children receive the full attention of their teacher, home-schooling gives an opportunity for greater flexibility (a teacher can design a curriculum that addresses the specific needs of each child and a child can be taught in more convenient hours to develop her or his individual skills), and it reduces peer pressure.
However, every medal has its reverse! Keep in mind that schools do not only educate, but also serve as socialization institutes. According to psychologists, the child’s education at home often leads to the isolation from society, the segregation and the formation of the child’s pathological isolation: where the fear and unwillingness to interact with other children appear (Engel, 1991). Learning in a group promotes social learning and values of citizenship. A segregated home-schooled child is deprived of making friends, working in a team, dealing up with life’s obstacles and difficulties. Extracurricular activities such as the first and the last bell, field trips and graduation ceremony are “empty” dreams for that child. The last but not the least, a home- schooled child is excluded from quality education.
In my concern, each child has a right to PARTICIPATE and BE INCLUDED into the general educational process, irrespective of his/her physical or mental ability.
What do YOU think about home-schooling process? Is it a privilege or an isolation?
Decree of the Ministry of Education and Science (2004). Decree # 974. “Policy on the procedure to assist parents in children’s home-schooling by educational organizations”. Retrieved February 5, 2015, from <http://tengrinews.kz/zakon/docs?ngr=V040003303>.
Engel, D. M. (1991). Law, culture, and children with disabilities: Educational rights and the construction of difference. Duke Law Journal (1), 166-205.
Kokhan, A. Y. (2012). Aktualniye problemy nadomnogo obucheniya detei s problemami v razvitiyi /Topical challenges of home-schooling of children with developmental issues/. Retrieved February 5, 2015, from <http://enu.kz/repository/repository2012/aktualnye-problemy-nadomnogo.pdf>.
Sultan, S., & Samenbetov, A. (2015, January 15). V Kazakhstane predlagajut otkazatsja ot objazatelnogo shkolnogo obrazovanija /Parents want to abandon compulsory schooling in Kazakhstan/. Retrieved February 3, 2015, from < http://www.zakon.kz/4681550-v-kazakhstane-predlagajut -otkazatsja-ot.html>.