Serbian Children with Disabilities Left Out of School

scInspired by Kim Samuel’s latest article in the Huffington Post, ‘A New ‘3 R’s’ for Back to School: Respect, Recognition, and Reciprocity, which encourages us to think about the ways in which many students experience isolation, Human Rights Watch has just released a compelling article on the need for inclusive education in Serbia.

As children around the world are preparing to go back to school, many of us are left thinking about those who, unfortunately, will not get the chance to share in the excitement.

In her recent article, Serbian Children with Disabilities Left Out of School, Emina Ćerimović  emphasizes that, “for many children with disabilities, [September 1st] will be just one more day without a chance to learn, make friends, and interact with peers and teachers”.

In its report, Human Rights Watch found that nearly 50 percent of children with disabilities in Serbia are not enrolled in school and these rates are even higher for children who live in large residential institutions. Without the opportunity to attend school, many children are left isolated –  being unable to interact with others and develop relationships that allow them to feel connected to those around them.

In order to develop communities, which promote inclusiveness and the wellbeing of all individuals, Ćerimović asserts that the Serbian government must first commit to adopting the Action Plan for Inclusive Education, which “provides pathways for children with disabilities to attend mainstream schools where all children can learn together”.

As she states, “Inclusion is not just about giving children with disabilities the education they are entitled to. It’s about individual education plans, a diverse student body, accessible school buildings, and teachers trained to adapt to different learning abilities and styles”.