Providing access to inclusive education for persons with disabilities is a challenge for many countries. Ensuring equal education opportunities for everyone is however necessary for professional and personal development. This is also reflected in Sustainable Development Goal 4, which mentions inclusive education for all. In 2018, Tajikistan signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Even so, providing inclusive education to young people and adults with disabilities still remains a tremendous challenge in Tajikistan, both for the State and for civil society organisations. DVV International and its partners have therefore developed a project by the name of “Promotion of Social Change and Inclusive Education” (INCLUSION).
The project aims to improve access to quality vocational and non-formal education services for persons with disabilities – especially young people –, and to establish an improved environment for more inclusive, responsive and transparent social policies. Together with the civil society organisation “Ishtirok”, which works with persons with disabilities, and the Adult Education Association of Tajikistan, DVV International has been implementing the INCLUSION project since April 2018 with financial support from the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Assessing the needs of persons with disabilities
In the beginning, the project team identified the educational needs of young people with disabilities, educational opportunities and job vacancies available to them, as well as potential areas for employment, in the project locations Dushanbe, Penjikent and Rasht. In addition, the accessibility of state-owned adult training centres (ATCs) throughout Tajikistan for persons with disabilities was critically assessed. The resulting analytical report provided an overview of occupations in demand, and showed the limitations in basic as well as vocational educational opportunities for young people with disabilities. The assessment of the accessibility of ATC facilities revealed the need for reconstruction and improvements in order to create an enabling environment for persons with disabilities.
Based on the survey, one ATC in the capital and two regional ATCs were selected for reconstruction. In addition, vocational curricula and training materials on the four occupations “confectioner”, “beekeeper”, “fl orist” and “repair of household appliances” were developed based on inclusive education approaches and introduced at the ATCs. ATC trainers raised their capacities in applying inclusive vocational training curricula, and piloted two vocational training courses in inclusive classes.