Inclusive Education                                                                                          Education Inclusive

CASE STUDY 


Towards Education for All - Supporting the Sustainable Development of Education for Children with Learning Difficulties in Armenia

Towards Education for All - Supporting the Sustainable Development of Education for. Children with Learning Difficulties in Armenia’, a two years project ( second phase TEFA2) administered by Mission East, a Danish humanitarian aid organization and supported by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA), aims to;

 In accordance with the Education for All Flagship on the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities: Towards Inclusion, other international conventions and national legislation, this project will continue to contribute towards Armenia achieving ‘Education for All’

 To support the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia to consolidate development of replicable models and working mechanisms that facilitate equal access for children with special educational needs to Armenian education system.

 To support the participation of disability organizations in the development and monitoring of national education strategies, plans of action, and appropriate allocation of educational resources.

The TEFA2 project has confirmed what was confirmed in TEFA1, a high outcome at all levels in a participatory way. It is very clear that at every stage of the project the “feeling responsible” is a fact. Although not yet all stakeholders are convinced of the way forward the debate on it is ongoing. In the beneath frame I give as a first temptative to recommendations, my comments on the different outputs. Later on I will go more in detail so the link between lesson learned and recommendations becomes clearer.

Output

Realized

Lesson learnt

Recommendation

NIE has integrated teachers training package and special education flexible curricula in its general training and education program and trains teachers in delivery of special education curricula and in internationally recognised standards (constructivism) via school based resource centres.

The training package is there and has been realized by the working groups at NIE.

The different WG are continuously updating the package under de lead of...

Not all members of the working group have the same idea on how going forward.

Many members are involved in different trainings over the country; SE training is part of it. As many schools were happy with the trainings improvement and adapted trainings are needed.

Review the training modules and adapt them to the individual disability.

Strengthen the capacity of the schools in organizing school based trainings ( a system of mother school and satellite schools)

More specialized training for the WG of the NIE

Include in each module and training the assessment component.

Children with special needs have access to appropriate education in 15 new inclusive schools. 

This is a very visual progress and schools are very happy with it because the need is so high.

At every level of the project stakeholders are expressing the need of more IC and more exactly up country in remote regions.

The awareness campaign should be intensified in these regions.

More attention should be paid on linking the different education partners in Armenia to intensive the campaign on inclusive schools.

More discussions should be organized with the World Bank now that the second education project will be put in place.

State Pedagogical University’s Special Education Department has the capacity to train future teachers according to internationally recognised standards

The SPU is more integrated in the whole outcome of the project. Six courses have been reviewed, the debate on how to go forward is ongoing

The different meaning s of the different units within the SE department is keeping the debate alive. There are different opinions how the courses should be organized, if SE will be a part of general education...

A round table conference should be organized to have a real open debate on how to go forwards. As SE is an expensive component it is necessary that pre-service and in-service have to work hand in hand.

BoH recognised as primary partner with MoES, NIE and ME to support sustainable changes in education policies and practices in Armenia, to ensure equal opportunities for children with special educational needs to access basic education and fulfill educational objectives, and to promote disability awareness issues to the general public.

This is fact that is confirmed by all partners.

BOH is the primary partner.

The support of BOH for all levels of the program is remarkable and provoked a real change in the society. The fact that there are disabled children has become the point of discussion of many people, but there is still a long way to go.

BOH has to keep on focusing on the quality of the trainers and this should be a pre occupation. The faster the training capacity is build in NIE and SPU the faster BOH can concentrate on the awareness in the very remote regions.

Civil society organizations (specifically disability NGOs and parents network) participate in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of strategies for the development of education for children with disabilities and special educational needs, and in the creation of conditions that will facilitate the children’s active participation in the community

This is a fact and it has impressed how enthusiastic the whole school society parents included, express their happiness.

The way that parents are eager to tell their story is reflecting the success of the project.

Although parents are aware of the disabled Childs problems, they should understand that they also have a responsibility at home.

The school cannot do everything and working with disabled children is an intensive job.

More training is needed for parents to understand the difficult role the school has.

 

Key Recommenations and actions

Key recommendation

Actions

Establish a closer collaboration and cooperation between NIE and SPU

Alike the SPU courses and the modules for NIE training.

Alike the pre-service and in-service special education courses

Campaign for integrating SPU Special Education courses in General Education courses.

Organize regular meetings between the SPU and the NIE to coordinate courses.

The courses should contain the five group factors of inclusive classroom practice :

 

● Co-operative teaching

● Co-operative learning

● Collaborative problem solving

● Heterogeneous groups

● Effective teaching

 

All teachers should be trained in multi-age teaching methods.

 

The NIE and SPU should train core Special Education teams in the resource centres in the different regions

Development of classroom and Inclusive assessment tools

 

Development of Inclusive materials

Put in place indicators for assessment in the classroom and in the school.

Develop the function of assessment coordinator in the multi-disciplinary team.

Develop in collaboration with the assessment department assessment tools for classroom practice. Also develop indicators for assessment policy

Raising achievement of all pupils by effectively using assessment information for different audiences.

Shifting the emphasize of SEN related assessment away from initial identification linked to diagnosis and resource allocation to on-going assessment conducted by class teachers that informs teaching and learning

Developing systems of on-going, formative assessment that

are effective for mainstream schools; giving schools and class teachers the tools to take responsibility for assessing the learning of pupils with SEN and even identifying (initially) the special needs of other pupils.

There are different actors involved in assessment. Teachers, other school staff, external support staff, but parents and also pupils themselves can potentially be involved in assessment procedures. All actors can use assessment information in different ways and should be trained properly.

Assessment information is not only concerned with the pupil, but also the learning environment (and sometimes even the home environment).

Promote portfolio assessment.

 

Organize a competitive program (many schools make their own materials) for developing Inclusive materials. The best materials will be awarded. All materials should be described in a manual and printed or produced for all resource centres and schools.

Extend Inclusive Education to all schools ( all levels) in Armenia

Feasible study of the most remote schools

Start the extension in the most remote regions


The necessity of an extension and consolidation phase TEFA2 to the TEFA1 project to enhance the impact and sustainability of the first two project objectives has been confirmed by Project Management Committee (PMC) of the TEFA project, including representatives the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) and the NIE, and is in keeping with mid-term evaluation recommendations. There is need for further technical capacity of the NIE and particularly of the State Pedagogical University (SPU), in terms of using the new curricula and above all make the transition from a “Defectology” approach to a student-centred constructivism based one. It is also clear that in terms of re-enforcing the civil society participation in the process of equal and inclusive education of disabled children, there are still some aspects to support further such as the strengthening of the NGO Coalition and the parents network (at a national level).

Most of the activities of the project were completely implemented. Activities relating to strengthening of parents groups, advocacy work, and awareness raising and civil society were relatively sufficient to meet the objectives of the proposals.

All activities contributed to successfully obtaining the targeted results. For a lot of the activities the project even surpassed the initial targets and has done more as initially planned – see also indicator check in the last M&E Workbook (e.g. 17 schools were initially recognized as inclusive within the project instead of planned 15. In addition to that 12 more schools were recognized inclusive by NIE. Thus the total number of inclusive schools within TEFA-2 is 29 (17 plus 12). Therefore total number of inclusive schools in Armenia rose to 43 (14 plus 29); by the end of the project 10 instead of 8 teacher handbooks on delivery of curricula in primary school have been developed…). All stakeholders (including final beneficiaries e.g. the special educational needs children and their parents, IE teachers, SPU…) as defined by the proposal have been fully involved in the preparation of the project and have been ongoing consulted and key stakeholders have been involved in key decision making during implementation through the PMC meetings.

Mission East, Bridge of Hope Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia, as well as National Institute of Education and State Pedagogical University have been as per signed Memorandum of Understanding. These key stakeholders together with the MOES, parent representatives and representatives from the local NGO’s participated monthly in a Project Management Committee (PMC) in which issues were discussed and key decisions taken on a participatory way. I believe all stakeholders have done a great job in participation and involvement.

The monitoring of this project has been good and followed all Danida and Mission East requirements on Monitoring. Based on the annual Implementation Plan, monthly work plans were developed which were the main tools for monitoring the activities of the project. Mission East (ME) staff also reviewed monthly reports (financial and programmatic) submitted by the partner organization. There have been regular monitoring visits to the field and PO from the Project manager and weekly feedback on the status of the project was done from the Project management to the Country director who was then reporting this on a weekly basis on a very general level to ME HQ Desk). Before January 2009 monthly reporting from the CD to the HQ has been done only on an ad hoc basis. It was only since the introduction of the Mission East M&E workbooks that proper monitoring from the Desk on the ongoing project issues was realized. In addition there were 2 international Consultants who monitored and evaluated the education component. They reviewed the activities of the working groups, the changes in the courses at the State Pedagogical University (SPU) and the documents developed on the teachers training, on strategies of inclusive education, and on reforms in the special education sector.

There has been a slight overspending on the teacher’s training package development and slight under spending in the International Consultancy covering, curriculum planning, training adaptations and delivering training. 

The whole Mission East project management structure next to the PO’s project management structure and the ongoing involvement of all stakeholders in key decisions through the monthly PMC have proven to be instrumental to make the necessary project corrections where needed.

It is for sure that the conditions for inclusive education are established at all levels going from the society, to the school, University and Ministry of Education. BOH sticked to the plan and if any money couldn’t be spent because of any condition it was spent in other ways like the guides for teachers or journalists. Although the establishment of inclusive conditions there is fear that an education budget cut will affect the sustainability of the project. The work done over years will be put in danger; it is not possible that this temporary crisis can affect all these people involved in the project. ME has influence in the MoE and should discuss these things at a high level.

ME went from 5 schools to 40 will arrive at 100. The capacity of the MoE should be build to reach all 500 to 600 schools. Teachers have to been retrained and the new teachers coming out of SPU need a good training also and this not the case because of the slow progress with SPU. More background is needed on the qualifications of trainers in the mars (local education offices). The respond to the needs of the teachers is very important for that there should also be a budget line to support our first inclusive schools for a longer time to support them in all kinds. To give a response to all these needs NIE should have the capacity to advice on trainers and training priorities.

The project has shown a big effort to find factors to influence long-term development and this effort should be continued. Change the mind of the decision makers; it depends on them for having better results. There should be a separate budget line in the regional MoE offices to train local NIE trainers. If there is enough human resource inclusive schools are better than SE schools. For the moment there are 24 SE schools they could be reformed to resource and training centres, teachers could be integrated in inclusive schools. The new law on general education is providing the opportunity to achieve the goal of education for all so SE should be under the umbrella of general education. Parents of SNC should be more involved in the different processes as decision making management and other issues. Parents help teachers making teaching and learning materials because the workload for the members of the multidisciplinary team in some schools is very high.

30 subjects at the SE Department at the SPU can be revised but it depends on the desire of ME, on the financial support and on the higher level courses. SPU delivers every year SE specialists but they don’t know how to teach, then they have to go back to the University for a Second training. Activities related to changing attitude and programs in the State University cannot be considered sufficient, despite the fact that all the planned work was completed in this institute.

An effort on finding scoring systems for disabled children has been done but more developments are necessary. Many schools have their own ticking system, but it is not satisfying because they don’t know if they are on the right track.

Many schools received hemp to adapt their school to the needs of the disabled child, these are remarkable efforts. But again more effort from the Ministry is necessary. Cooperation between Min of health, Min of Education and Urban Construction (feasibility research should be done for each school) could be a first step forward.

The approach used to execute the different components of the program was mostly satisfactory. The involvement of the stake holders in the project management through the Project Management committee, as well as the involvement of different civil society groups in project activities resulted in successful outputs. However, there needs to be more involvement from State Pedagogical University. This could be possible after more advocacy work there.

Local skills need to be developed further specifically in issues of teaching methodologies as well as inclusive education philosophy and practice

Implementation of activities with local players of civil society and Ministry of Education representatives were a real enjoyment. The same could not be said about the State Pedagogical institute, where there was and still is lack of understanding of the need for inclusive education.

Contribution of stakeholders was very significant during the duration of the program as all of the actors and beneficiaries were involved in project management and implementation through there representatives in the Project Management Committee as well as the different working groups established during the past years.

At school and civil society levels the quality of the monitoring was good as there was a clear monitoring plan, with set indicators. As mentioned above, the plan could be even better if it includes quantitative measurement of the impact. 

Questions

Answers

To what extent were the goal and objectives of the project achieved?

 

All activities contributed to successfully obtaining the targeted results. For a lot of the activities the project even surpassed its initial targets and has done more as initially planned – see also indicator check in the last M&E Workbook (e.g. 17 schools were initially recognized as inclusive within the project instead of planned 15. In addition to that 12 more schools were recognized inclusive by NIE. Thus the total number of inclusive schools within TEFA-2 is 29 (17 plus 12). Therefore total number of inclusive schools in Armenia rose to 43 (14 plus 29); by the end of the project 10 instead of 8 teacher handbooks on delivery of curricula in primary school will have been developed…).

How close and effective was the cooperation of project partners/stakeholders?

 

It is clear that all partners and stakeholders worked very well together to achieve the objectives. All stakeholders (including final beneficiaries e.g. the special educational needs children and their parents, IE teachers, SPU…) as defined by the proposal have been fully involved in the preparation of the project and have been ongoing consulted and key stakeholders have been involved in key decision making during implementation through the PMC meetings.

A lot of stakeholders are not clear about the role of the SPU in the whole inclusive strategy. There are different opinions on the future of the SE Department at the university. Even the opinions are very different in the SE Department itself.

The future of the SPU even provoked a quiet intensive discussion at the FGD with the NIE working groups.

What were the level of involvement and the role of Government structures in project implementation?

 

The role of the Government is clear as the philosophy and strategy on inclusive education is totally integrated in the National Education concept.

Ministry has been part and a leader in the program since the beginning. They have added the budget of inclusive schools, participated and acquired responsibility of further trainings through the National Institute of Education. However, the global financial crisis will put pressure on the Ministry and they might not be able to commit 100 percent because of unexpected fall of the GDPO (more than 18%)

As I could understand from the different discussions with the MoE and the NIE the involvement was very intensive, prove is the ongoing training of the different partners inside the country.

Remarkable is the change in the strategy on the cascade training. The NIE trainers go inside the country and train teachers, principals and other stakeholders at the same time.

This strategy could be strengthened through the implementation of learning resource centers.

What were the major achievements of the project?

 

Most of the activities of the project were completely implemented. Activities relating to strengthening of parents groups, advocacy work, and awareness raising and civil society were relatively sufficient to meet the objectives of the proposals. Activities related to changing attitude and programs in the State University cannot be considered sufficient, despite the fact that all the planned work was completed in this institute.

 

Armenia has now officially adopted policy of inclusion and has domed some important changes in the legislature. In this sense, the program had a good impact. On other levels, such as changing of popular attitudes, participation of people with educational needs in various advocacy activities, the impact is also positive.

 

Additional achievements are ;Changed policies of Ministry of Education, adoption of new laws guarantying the educational rights of the children with specific needs, growing numbers of inclusive schools, more involvement of NGOs and people with education needs in advocacy work, growing media coverage of special needs issues.

What were the major shortcomings of the project?

 

I don’t really see any shortcomings of the project. In the many discussions I had many stakeholders talked about weaknesses but they were not related to the activities of the project. What I mean is that many people had a lot of wishes and compared it with weaknesses. The project has changed the minds of so many people and will keep on changing it from top to level. Through inclusive education the project has opened the eyes of a lot of teachers, parent’s even kids.

If we can call it a shortcoming then the slow change in attitude of some lecturers in the SPU is one and an important one. Although the more I asked questions to the different members the more I could see a will to do something about it is present.

What were the major lessons learnt from the implemented project?

 

See section lesson learnt

What areas need further improvement to strengthen the effect of the project and secure its sustainability? What are the specific recommendations in this regard?

See section recommendations

How reasonable were the available resources used during project implementation?

 

We have to keep in mind that all the budgets set for activities became very unrealistic due to evaluation and devaluation of the Dram and foreign currencies in the past 2 years.  Project managers adjusted and planned the activities in such a way that the level of achievement of the activities was not much affected by the fluctuation of the currencies. Activities were not changed, but more efficiency cuts and readjustments were made periodically.

The resources used to strengthening civil society were effective during the implementation period. It was hoped that with Armenia’s economy growing, different stakeholders in the civil society will be able to add on the existing resources and continue their growth. With the new reality, where poverty is rising and Armenia’s economy is facing serious problems, the expectations might not hold true.

What are the specific recommendations to be considered while designing the third phase of TEFA project which will particularly be focused on the educational reform in the State Pedagogical University of Armenia?

 

Establish a closer collaboration and cooperation between NIE and SPU.

Development of classroom and Inclusive assessment tools

 

Development of Inclusive materials

Extend Inclusive Education to all schools ( all levels) in Armenia


 


 Teacher Interview

Resource centre

Principal interview

Cathredal of Yerevan


Portfolio


Reading disabled child



Secondary children


Parents interview


Inclusive team interview


Charles Aznavour supports the inclusive initiative in Armenia



The Armenian flag


Lake Sevan region




School in Russian style


Lada Niva


Individual work wth disabled children





Noravank


Noravank















Ċ
Peter Merckx,
7 Mar 2010, 23:59
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Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 02:01
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Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 02:02
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Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 02:10
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Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 02:14
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Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 01:56
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Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 02:12
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Peter Merckx,
9 Jan 2010, 02:12
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