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First Lady of Ukraine opens Inclusive Education Forum



Ukrainian Step by Step Foundation and the International Renaissance Foundation are at the very heart of the National School Reform program.

Maryna Poroshenko, the first lady of Ukraine, recently opened a four-day Train the Trainersession on Inclusive Education. The program was initiated by the Poroshenko Foundation, which is headed by Mrs. Poroshenko, and aims to improve social, cultural and medical structures in the country. The Poroshenko Foundation commissioned the Ukrainian Step by Step Foundation (USSF) and the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) to organize the forum and provide the subsequent training.

The initiative is directly linked to the New Ukrainian School concept, a series of changes being implemented since the beginning of 2017. When it comes to inclusion, these changes mean that Ukraine is moving away from standards where disabilities are being medicalized. Preferences are slowly moving toward an inclusive social model where an understanding of disabilities is being stimulated. Teachers, parents and children are being encouraged to find similarities rather than differences.

Pivotal role
During the first in a series of trainings, 79 participants from all regions of Ukraine were present. It will be their task to provide the training to all teachers (and teacher assistants)  working across the country. There is special focus on primary school teachers, who have a pivotal role in the New Ukrainian School concept. Inclusive classrooms are expected to spread soon after the first sessions are concluded.

But the program consists of more. In order to secure the required steps for future improvements, UNICEF will commence an additional Train the Trainer session in October, especially for the representatives of Inclusive Resource Centers. Inclusive Resource Centers have recently replaced the Psychologic-Medical-Pedagogical Consultations where children used to be diagnosed and sent to special needs facilities or treatments.

The Ukrainian Step by Step Foundation and the International Renaissance Foundation will also conduct mentoring visits to ach Ukrainian region to tackle challenges and provide  necessary support to regional trainers.


Government support
All present reforms are being initiated by the Poroshenko Foundation, but the Government of Ukraine has also allocated special funds for these training, therewith stressing the importance of the New Ukrainian School and enabling a nationwide implementation. To emphasize the common goals, Mrs. Maryna Proshenko was accompanied to the Forum by Mr. Volodimir Kovtunetz, who is the first vice minister of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. USSF and IRF are both proud and honored to play such an active role in the school reformation process.

On the main photograph: The First Lady Mrs. Maryna Poroshenko and Mr. Volodimir Kovtunetz, first vice minister of the Ministry of Education and Science. All photo's aqcuired with courtesy of Mrs. Poroshenko's Secretarial Office. 









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