The Ministry of Education and Research of Norway has cooperated with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia in the process of the introduction of inclusive education since 2006. With the support of the Norwegian partners inclusive education was introduced at public schools, and since 2013 it has been introduced in the vocational education system.
The process, achievements and challenges of the inclusive vocational education of the education system of Georgia were discussed within the framework of the business meeting.
Since autumn 2013 up until now a total number of 252 students with special educational needs have been enrolled in vocational institutions out of whom 43 were enrolled in spring 2015. The enrolled beneficiaries differ in their disabilities: intellectual disabilities, vision and hearing loss and physical disabilities. So far, the students attend 37 vocational courses at 17 vocational institutions.
A packet of changes to be made into the law about vocational education has been devised within the legislative platform. The changes enable the document to come into force in accordance with the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 and ensure adequate regulation of the educational process of persons with disabilities.
In order to improve the quality of education of individuals with special educational needs, all the hearing impaired students enrolled at vocational institutions are provided with a sign language interpreter, visually impaired students – with a mobility and orientation trainer, and physically disabled ones – with a personal assistant who also assists with their transportation. 20 inclusive education specialists and personal assistants that help teachers devise individual approaches in their teaching practice are involved in the process. Visually impaired students have been given special devices that will help them read the material.
Practical monitoring of the process of inclusive education was carried out by 5 members of the multi-disciplinary team of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia whose main purpose is to carry out an uninterrupted process of inclusive vocational education.
For the first time, a project idea based on the Principles of Universal Design was developed about the adaptation of 5 vocational institutions. The staffs of the Educational and Scientific Infrastructure Development Agency were retrained in the aforementioned field by Norwegian specialists.
At the discretion of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia intensive meetings are arranged with partnering ministries and the non-governmental sector to develop a common policy about the employment of disabled individuals. An international conference has been held about this topic and together with the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia and the Social Service Agency, a project of piloting various services of the employment of disabled individuals has been introduced, which will come into effect during this year.
At the meeting they discussed the plans of the future cooperation and defined the improvement of the quality of education and employment of disabled individuals as basic priorities.