CIDREE Expert Meeting, Graz, May 21st - 22nd, 2015
Inclusive Education in European Countries
“All children and young people of the world, with their individual strengths and weaknesses, with their hopes and expectations, have the right to education. It is not our education systems that have a right to a certain type of child. Therefore, it is the school system of a country that must be adjusted to meet the needs of all its children” (Bengt Lindqvist, UN Special Rapporteur).
Inclusive Education is an issue for most countries and many of them have already developed strategies for the implementation of inclusion in their school system. Inclusion has many facets and focuses on equal access to education as well as equal opportunities to succeed and flourish for all. Many of the CIDREE member institutions are among others dealing with the question “How do countries meet individual, social and learning needs to enable learners to reach their potential?”. Special focus was put on the implementation strategies on policy level for e.g. inclusive regions. Therefore an expert meeting on this topic was held in Graz/Austria on 21st/22nd May 2015 as a first step of co-operation, which might result in a collaborative project later on.
The meeting aimed at exchanging experience in the field of inclusion, of course connected to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as far as the school system is concerned. Our primary interests focused on
- the formal status of SEN in an inclusive system,
- the allocation of extra resources for children with SEN,
- the (change of) roles of special schools,
- quality aspects of inclusive education in a regular school system,
- dealing with different types of disabilities (sensory, social-emotional, physical, severe and multiple disabilities),
- the role of advisory centers or similar institutions
13 experts from 9 countries came to Graz to give a presentation about the situation in their respective system touching those aspects. Participating countries were Albania, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, and the host Austria. After the presentations of strategies and experiences in different countries plenary discussions about the different and many times also similar approaches to implementing an inclusive system were held. As a final activity during the expert meeting small teams of two countries drew conclusions and outlined the lessons learned. A compilation of presentations and additional material will be provided for all participants and interested member institutions.
CEC Meeting Tartu 2015
CIDREE Executive Club Meeting, Tartu
June 10-11, 2015
On June 10/11, 2015 the directors of CIDREE member institutions met in Tartu for their yearly exchange on director’s level.
Their fruitful discussions touched on various subjects, such as the strategic direction of CIDREE, common activities and the yearbook. They also welcomed the straplines and priorities worked out by the National Coordinators at their meeting in March, which will be worked into the forthcoming website developments. Furthermore, they came up with ideas for raising awareness of how CIDREE adds to education in Europe and of how to promote CIDREE at the European level.
As an additional item for their meeting, the Estonian host had organized a presentation by Dr. Äli Leijen, Head of the Institute of Education, University of Tartu on Guiding student teachers’ construction of action-oriented knowledge, which was followed by a lively discussion.
CNC Meeting Tartu 2015
The annual CIDREE National Coordinators meeting was held in Tartu, Estonia, on March 26 and 27, 2015. The meeting was attended by representatives of 13 CIDREE member institutions and by the CIDREE President.
Apart from the usual exchange of information on membership issues and on past and upcoming events, the meeting was also used to talk about the Yearbook 2015, which is well under way, and to start preparations of the Yearbook 2016, which will be edited by Scotland. Under the heading “CIDREE Strategic Direction and Impact”, the CNCs came up with two straplines for CIDREE and a shortlist with 7 CIDREE priorities. These will be presented to the Board in April 2015. The meeting also brought forth 2 promising new projects, one on “Pupil Participation and the Impact of Learning” initiated by Sweden, the second one on “What is most worth learning?” initiated by the Netherlands.
The President thanked the CNCs for their time, expertise, experience and active thinking and looks forward to an exciting year ahead.
A final word of thanks goes to our Estonian hosts, who organized this meeting to perfection.