Maryna Poroshenko took part in the roundtable discussion “Inclusive education in Ukraine: realities and prospects”. The event was held at the initiative of the President’s wife and Commissioner of the President for Children’s Rights Mykola Kuleba.
The main purpose of the event is to hold constructive dialogue and coordinate joint efforts with the public in order to substantially change the development of inclusive education in the state.
In the opening speech, Maryna Poroshenko noted that children with special needs had the same rights as other citizens. Thus, they must have equal opportunities in education, employment, cultural and social life as well. “The level of inclusive education is an indicator of state development degree,” the President’s wife noted.
Ms. Poroshenko emphasized that the introduction of inclusive education in Ukraine would take a long time: “However, children cannot wait, because they grow up. We are wasting invaluable time. Thus, if we start solving this problem today, we will receive the first results tomorrow”.
Commissioner of the President for Children's Rights Mykola Kuleba said that the current system of education for children with disabilities had shown its ineffectiveness: "At the same time, special education cannot meet the needs of all children with special needs. So the only way to solve the problem is the development of inclusive education. Every child should become a useful member of society, not its burden".
The attendees shared their experience in the implementation of inclusive education. They noted that the priorities of inclusive education were timely socialization of children with disabilities, their adaptation to independent adult life, providing them with opportunities to fully participate in social life.
The key issues of inclusion in Ukraine are unwillingness of society to accept special children, controversial attitude of most teachers towards inclusion, lack of teachers’ assistants and lack of funding.
The parties agreed to establish a permanent interagency working group aimed to work out a single mechanism for the implementation of inclusive education in Ukraine.