Enabled inclusion of overage out-of-school children

The Concept for inclusive education, which provides guidelines for implementing inclusive education in practice in our social system, was adopted by the Minister of Education and Science this year, in July. The concept consists of the inclusion, development and education of different groups of students with special education needs, among which are overage out-of-school children/students. The project “Inclusion of out-of-school children in the education system”, implemented by MCEC in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science, with the support of Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation from Switzerland, provided support in the process of drafting the part of the concept that regards the inclusion of children with exceeded school age. With the new Law on primary education from 2019, a new, adapted school curricula is being created, targeting the overage out-of-school children. This curricula will enable the enrollment of the older children and their inclusion in an appropriate grade in primary education. Also, the project supports the adapted curricula, created by BDE, that are in the drafting process.

The adoption of the Concept for inclusive education and the creation of the adapted curricula are significant steps toward overcoming the obstacles for inclusion of older, school overage children/students. Until now, due to the lack of shortened curricula, there was a problem to organize and implement the teaching process for children, who couldn’t enroll on time because of different reasons. Schools had difficulties with the inclusion of children that didn’t enroll on time and are more than 9 years old (in the regular first grade classes).

In order to find the most appropriate solution and fully support the school inclusion process of these students, according to the Concept, one must have in mind numerous factors, above all, the fact that most of the overage students do not feel like they belong to the environment, unless they are in the same class with students that are exactly or similar to their age.  Also, depending on the students’ age, different set of skills and knowledge are implemented in the school. Among the concrete guidelines for inclusion of school overage students that are a part of the Concept are the following:

– In case a student, up until his/her enrollment in primary school, didn’t attend classes at all (wasn’t enrolled in primary school), he/she begins education in accordance with the first grade curricula. However, depending on the age of the student, he/she will follow the teaching process together with students that are their exact or similar age and will be enrolled in a class like this:

  • In the first period of primary school (students that are up to 10 years old are enrolled and the school will be guided by the principle of the largest difference between the student that is being enrolled and the other students not to be more than 2 years) and
  • In the second period of primary school (students that are up to 15 years old are enrolled, again, having in mind the year difference between the student that is being enrolled and the regular students not to exceed 2 or 3 years if he/she is enrolled in the sixth grade).

 – In one school year, the school overage student can receive a certification for completion of two grades with the adapted curricula, if he/she is successful and shows good results. He/she continues to follow the teaching process in the same class where he/she has been enrolled.

This activity is part of the Project for Inclusion of Out-of-School Children in the Educational System, supported by the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation (PCF), in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science.