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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Special education needs provision within mainstream education


12.Educational Support and Guidance

12.1Special education needs provision within mainstream education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Students with disabilities "is a person who has long-term physical, mental, sensory, behavioural or combined, which, in interaction, can hinder participate fully and equally in education, and in social life[1].

The situation of children with disabilities has always been one of the most problematic sectors that negatively influence the integration of the child in society, daily activities, and the job market in the future. Until a few years ago, the only access to education, children with disabilities had, was attending a special primary school (Tirana, Vlora, Durrës and Elbasan) for the children who had intellectual disabilities, or the School for Blind children” and “The institute of deaf children” which are both in Tirana. The latter institutions offer dorm rooms, and all the expenses are paid by the government. However, for many years, a high number of children with disabilities have had unequal access to education, especially attending secondary or higher level education. Regardless of the low number of children who attend special schools, the parents reported that they were unsatisfied with their quality, seeing as their child would get worse due to the fact that children with different disabilities are in the same class. The parents also said that often, the children would be unsupervised and violent incidents may happen between the older and younger children.

During the last decade, efforts have been made to develop a suitable regulatory framework that would guarantee the inclusion of children with disabilities, in all general schools. Law No. 69/2012, approved in July 2012 “On the Pre-university Education” marks an important step regarding the rights of children with disabilities, for their overall inclusion and quality education. The principle of equality 30 and non-discrimination is determined on the legal basis that regulates it. Article 5 of this law guarantees the right for education for a lot of categories, including the children with disabilities. Article 20 guarantees the right to psycho-social services in the educational institutions. Article 44 focuses on the curriculum, and emphasizes the fact that the curriculum should be in compliance with the physical, mental, social and ethical development progress of the students, and their individual learning characteristics. The curriculum should be developed and implemented based on fundamental competencies of the student. Chapter XI of this law, specifically Articles 63-65 refer to the education of children with disabilities. Some of the novelties of this chapter are: the development of individualized education plans for students with disabilities who need assistance, the presence of teaching assistant and the establishment of committees of educational needs assessment for these children as well as school-level teams in quality education assistance. The Normative Dispositions of pre-University Education, approved in July 2013, make up a new chapter dedicated to the education of children with disabilities. Chapter XIII of these dispositions, one of the longest and most comprehensive chapters, elaborates in details the requirements of the law for university education for these children, paving the way for implementation of the right to inclusive and high quality education for all children with disabilities. Based on the regulatory framework that came into force, every child should be educated, but the decision to enrol the child in general or special school, is left in the hands of the parents. Thus, children with disabilities, regardless of the type and severity of disability, have the right to enrol in nurseries, kindergartens and general schools. Attending preschool is facilitated by removing all fees for children who are commissioned. Also, the new regulatory framework has determined the criteria and procedures for the establishment and operation of committees for the assessment of children with disabilities at the Regional Education Departments or District Offices, which will consist of multidisciplinary teams and will be based on bio - psycho - social evaluation models. These committees will determine the child's need for a teaching assistant, but will also provide the necessary guidance for the design of individual educational plan, that will follow each child with disabilities. In addition, during the recent years, the Ministry of Education and the Curriculum Development Institute have reviewed all preschool and school curricula, so that they can be designed in an inclusive language. However, there is still much to be done, in order to adapt the textbooks in Braille technique

The lack of teaching assistants is another barrier to apply the new regulatory framework. The key informants identified the lack of qualified professionals, in this regard and lack of motivation of the existing teachers due to their low income.

[1] Law No. 69/2012 “For pre-university education system in the Republic of Albania.[Ligj nr.69/2012, “Për sistemin e Arsimit Parauniversitar në Republikën e Shqipërisë”]