6.6 Social inclusion through education and training
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Children are recognized as rights holders. The United Nations International Convention on Children’s Rights, is considered to be the most important text about children’s rights worldwide. Education is one of their vested rights, for which the Greek state takes care and ensures that all children have access to education, wherever they come from and regardless any discrimination.
Law 3699/2008 defines Special Education and Training (SET) as the offered educational services provided to students with disabilities and identified special educational needs or to students with special educational needs. In Article 4 of the same law, the supporting bodies are clarified. Equal access to education for students with disabilities and/or special educational needs is a key pillar of the National Action Plan for the Rights of People with Disabilities, which was drafted under the coordination of the Minister of State and is currently being implemented.
The Department of Educational Innovation and Inclusive Education is part of the Institute of Educational Policy (IEP), and includes the Unit of Special and Inclusive Education as well as the Unit of Rights, Minority, Expatriate Education and Detention Centers. The Special and Inclusive Education Unit provides Detailed-Special programs and Differentiation Guides. At the same time, IEP participates in the European Erasmus+ 2020 Program entitled: "Inclusive Schools", with the main goal of helping the participating schools to integrate the principles of inclusion in their educational culture, with the help of specific tools and practices that will be designed by the actions of the program.
With regard to education and training in detention facilities, the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth (GSVETLL & Y) ensures the efficient operation of formal and non-formal learning structures, as formulated in Law 4763/2020.
More information about the actions and the legal framework related to educational support is presented on the website of the "Eurydice" network.
As mentioned in the Strategic Plan for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth 2022-2024, one of the main responsibilities of the Central Council of Vocational Education and Training (CCVET) is to combat discrimination against people with disabilities and chronic diseases. Labour Employment Organization (OAED) operates two Special Education training structures, which aim at the professional specialization and socialization of unemployed people with disabilities and consequently at their employment in various sectors of the economy.
The two structures are:
- The Vocational Training School for the Disabled people of Athens (OAED), is addressed to people aged 18-55, with a disability rate of more than 50%
- The Vocational Training Centre for Disabled people of Thessaloniki (VTCD), with the aim of vocational guidance and vocational training of young people with special educational needs, offers vocational training to 175 young people aged 16-30
For vulnerable social groups, such as Roma, prisoners, immigrants, refugees, etc., an initiative will be taken by the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth (GSVETLL & Y), in order to capture their needs for learning paths and to plan positive actions.
Moreover, the training of the teaching staff of the educational structures in Detention Centers is introduced, as mentioned in the Strategic Plan for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth 2022-2024.
Social cohesion and equal opportunities
According to the National Action Plan against Racism and Intolerance, in view of the creation of an inclusive education system and the adoption of modern educational policies and actions to raise the awareness of student youth against anti-Semitism, intolerance, racism and xenophobia, informing and training teachers is essential. The briefing concerns all teachers at all levels, on human rights issues. At the same time, teachers must be able to deal at all stages with the phenomenon of early school leaving from vulnerable social groups as well as issues of conflict management, school bullying, domestic violence, management of issues arising due to the presence of refugees or immigrants, people with disabilities and/or chronic diseases etc.
The Special and Inclusive Education Unit of the Educational Policy Institute has as its main task the research and promotion, among others of:
- The methodology for the inclusion of children with different linguistic, learning, cultural and social backgrounds
- The principles, tools and procedures for personalizing and differentiating teaching
- The study programs and the timetable of Special Education and Training Schools
- The educational planning of early and timely intervention in disability
- The methodology of the transition and the promotion of the learning readiness of vulnerable children
- The monitoring and integration of international and European tools for the adoption of children’s rights
- The educational actions for the elimination of discrimination
- The necessary pedagogical measures to prevent any form of school failure and school dropout of children with disabilities and other special educational needs
- Methods and tools to improve the accessibility of curricula to all learning styles
The Democratic Education Program aims at training teachers in concepts such as anti-Semitism, democracy, justice, freedom, equality, Nazism, racism-xenophobia, sexism. At the same time, educational material is provided for the whole spectrum of discrimination.
The website, that hosts the Institute of Educational Policy, provides educational material related to refugee’s education. Regarding the treatment of bullying, the Network for the Prevention & Response of School Violence & Bullying is active. The network consists of the Central Scientific Committee (CSC), the Project Management Team (PMT), the Prevention Action Coordinators Committees (PACC), the Regional Action Groups Prevention (RAGP) and the Prevention Action Groups (PAG). The Guide for the Integration of Gender Optics in the Curricula and in the Textbooks and Materials of the Institute of Educational Policy, provides the necessary information to any interested teacher.