Education and Disability/Special Needs

Report: Education and Disability/Special Needs – policies and practices in education, training and employment for students with disabilities and special educational needs in the EU
According to the new http://www.nesse.fr/nesse/activities/reports/activities/reports/disability-special-needs-1 report published by the European Commission, despite commitments by Member States to promote inclusive education, children with special educational needs and disabled adults are still getting a raw deal. Many are placed in segregated institutions and those in mainstream educational settings often receive inadequate support.

The report calls on Member States to work harder to develop inclusive education systems and to remove the barriers faced by vulnerable groups when it comes to participation and success in education, training and employment.

Around 45 million EU citizens of working age have a disability and 15 million children have special educational needs. The report shows that in some cases, they are deprived of educational and employment opportunities altogether.

Children with special educational needs frequently leave school with few or no qualifications, before moving into specialist training which can, in some cases, impair rather than increase their job prospects.

People with disabilities or special educational needs are much more likely to be unemployed or economically inactive, and even those who are relatively successful in the job market often earn less than their non-disabled counterparts, the report states.

In all Member States, deprived children (especially boys) from Roma, ethnic minority and socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds are overrepresented in special needs schools.
The report questions whether special education systems increase the isolation of pupils who are already socially marginalised, reducing rather than enhancing their opportunities in life.
Research suggests that such children could be enrolled in mainstream schools if there was more investment in the development of their language skills and more sensitivity to cultural differences.

The report also highlights a wide variation between Member States as to how children with special needs are identified, as well as whether they are placed in mainstream or special schools.
It also suggests that more needs to be done to harmonise definitions and improve data gathering to enable countries to compare their approaches more effectively and learn from each other’s experience.

The report, http://www.nesse.fr/nesse/activities/reports/activities/reports/disability-special-needs-1 Education and Disability/Special Needs – policies and practices in education, training and employment for students with disabilities and special educational needs in the EU”, was compiled for the European Commission by the independent network of experts in social sciences of education and training (NESSE).