Trainings for inclusion of out of school children in the educational system organized

The factors contributing for the children to leave the educational process, the potential interventions on the part of the schools and the prospective activities for re-inclusion of such children in the educational system are only a part of the topics covered in the course of the three-day trainings for the inclusion of out of school children. The trainings held at the end of March 2019 were attended by more than 50 teachers, principals and expert associates from 13 schools included in the project “Inclusion of out of school children in the educational system”, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Education and Science.

The aim of the trainings was to strengthen the participants’ skills for building an inclusive atmosphere at the schools, primarily by creating adequate conditions for accepting the children that had been out of the educational system, as well as for their retention. Through workshops, discussions and group work, the participants shared the problems that they face at their schools and jointly worked on the possible solutions for overcoming them.

The most frequently asked questions equally addressed by almost all schools are as follows:
– What could the school do so that all children obliged to attend school from the region get enrolled in the first grade on time?
– How to retain at school the students coming from socially underprivileged families, who, due to the difficult financial standing, often skip classes and are at the risk of leaving school?
– How to successfully integrate in the class a student who has enrolled with a delay and who is several years older than the other students?
– How to provide individual support for the students from socially underprivileged families who slacken with their learning and find it hard to fit in and socialize?

Analyzing the problems from the perspective of the students, the teachers, the parents and the institutions not only contributed for the participants to gain a clearer insight into the competencies of all the parties responsible for solving the problems at an institutional level, but also for creating a more effective approach in finding specific solutions at a school level.

“Sharing experiences will significantly help us in our further work. We have heard how our colleagues from the other schools have been dealing with similar problems and we are grateful to the MоES representatives who clarified the legal provisions to us in terms of various situations related to the inclusion of out of school children” , said one of the participants in the traninings.

In fact, according to the survey conducted by MCEC, the majority of the out of school children are Roma originating from socially underprivileged families or without any documentation, but there are children from other ethnic communities who are left out from the educational system. As regards to problem of the inclusion of students in the event of a lack of adequate documentation, the MoES representatives clarified the procedure.

“Regardless as to whether the children have personal identification documents or not, the school is obliged to enroll such children and enable them to regularly attend classes. The students will be recorded without a personal identity number, while the certificates will be issued only after the procedure for the issuance of personal identification documents is completed. Furthermore, the school is obliged to enroll the children who return from abroad in the grade which comes after the last grade completed in the country. The student will stay in that grade until the procedure for the validation of the foreign documents is completed, after which the student will be transferred to the respective grade according to the completed validation. Pursuant to the law, the schools are obliged to serve the needs of these children and enable them to regularly attend classes in the course of the duration of such administrative procedures” – said the MoES representative.

The trainings were conducted by the trainers Radmila Zivanovic, psychologist and psychotherapist, and Valentina Zlatanovska, practitioner, pedagogy professional at a primary school. After the completion of the trainings for the schools, the Project will continue working on finding system solutions – adopting abbreviated curricula, enabling greater availability of validation of documents for a completed education level abroad and providing complete and accurate data for all schools.

This activity is part of the Project for inclusion of out-of-school children in the education system, financed by the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science.