INCLUSION POLICIES FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS: CASE OF KAZAKHSTAN
The inclusion policies addressing children with special needs is not a tribute to charity, but an act demonstrating government’s commitment to respect the rights of citizens. International human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provide necessary tools, and action framework for the development of such inclusive practices. The Inclusion policies directed at children with special needs demonstrate respect for fundamental rights and freedoms of children, who historically have been one of the most marginalized and stigmatized groups in the society.
Theoretically inclusive education allows children with special needs to realize their potential and it frees them from discrimination and prejudice. However, the development of the system of special education requires mobilization of a lot of resources and it requires support of their families, members of the community, representatives of education and health care system, etc.
In Kazakhstan, the development of the inclusive education requires
• expansion of the system of early childhood education and introduction of mechanisms providing access (including removal of physical barriers) to it for children with special needs;
• opening of access to quality primary and secondary education for children from urban and rural areas from families with different income levels;
• provision of training and retraining opportunities for school teachers;
• advocacy of education reform aiming at creation of ‘child friendly’ schools, which will involve human rights and child rights education for children and parents, for teachers and school administration.