Eurasia Regional GEM Report provides new insights on teachers needs for inclusive education


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The Eurasia Regional Global Education Monitoring Report “Inclusion and education: All means all” has just been published. The report, co-authored by UNESCO, the Network of Education Policy Centers (NEPC), and the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education is a supplement of the GEM 2020 with a specific focus on Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. The study provides a complete overview of inclusive education in 30 education systems from 23 countries and covers different areas of inclusive education including a specific chapter on teachers.

The report findings show an overall improvement in the Eurasian region for inclusive education, but there is still a long way to go for inclusion. Persisting segregation and discrimination based on the social and economic status, gender, language, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation are among the main challenges hindering inclusion. Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia, for instance, score the lowest for diversity of students based on economic, social and cultural status. Despite the international legal frameworks being widely adopted in the region, only 7 countries address bullying on sexual orientation and gender, while 9 education systems still do not have a strategy or plan for inclusion. The GEM Eurasia Report urges countries to make improvements, including a shift from a vision focusing on diversity as a challenge to a rights-based approach that considers inclusive education as a human right, and to adopt coherent and comprehensive inclusion policies.

Concerning teachers, the report underlines that 1 in 2 secondary school teachers do not feel well prepared to work in inclusive environments. On the one hand, initial training is mostly focused on subject methodology and general pedagogy and miss practical skills for diverse education environments. On the other hand, even though 7 in 10 teachers receive continuous professional development (CPD), in many countries such as Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Russia, the school-based professional development is lacking and the whole-school approach to inclusive education is not adequately reflected in CPD programmes.

Another critical challenge that the report points out is the lack of support personnel. According to the report, in 12 education systems in the region, there is only 1 specialist for every 30 teachers. Nevertheless, the report provides examples of national reforms in this field. Among them, Georgia announced a plan to introduce a higher education programme for special education teachers; North Macedonia approved new professional standards for teachers and support personnel; and Romania mainstreamed the inclusive dimension in higher education curricula for future teachers and special educators.

Among its recommendations, the GEM report underlines that inclusion cannot be a top-down process but needs to be built in cooperation and dialogue with all the stakeholders in education. A recent  ETUCE study on Embracing diversity underlines the importance of involving education social partners in discussions concerning all aspects of inclusive education. Proving teachers and education personnel with concrete tools to create inclusive teaching and learning environments is one of the aims of the ETUCE project ‘Education trade unions and inclusive schools: Embracing diversity in education. Among the project activities, ETUCE is soon to organise three training webinars addressing the main training needs of teachers when it comes to implementing inclusive education.


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ETUCE project ‘Education trade unions and inclusive schools: Embracing diversity in education