Inclusion in education is an approach to educating students with special educational needs. Inclusive education means that all students attend and are welcomed by their neighborhood schools in age-appropriate, regular classes and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of the life of the school. This implies that the schools, classrooms, programs and activities need to be developed and designed the way to accommodate the needs of all students as well as be conducive for studying and working together.
On December 2014, the parliament of Armenia amended the Law of the Republic of Armenia on General Education according to which by August 2025 all schools of the republic of Armenia should become inclusive. The reform primary targets children with physical or mental disabilities, and the spectrum of other educational needs that children might have become marginal and even irrelevant.
The greatest problem with the Armenian perception of inclusive education lies in the absence of a genuine discourse regarding the importance of inclusive education, and nowadays this discourse is substituted by political rhetoric. Absence of the discourse gives room for discretion, defines reform priorities that raise concerns, and finally, upholds the knowledge gap in the communities, which could support the reform if properly informed about.
Institute of Public Policy has a goal to study the challenges and bottlenecks for total inclusiveness of education. It specifically targets the reform philosophy/perception, needs identification and evaluation, and funding schemes. From the very beginning of its existence, IPP evaluates the reform progress of inclusive education in Armenia under the light of total inclusiveness and inclusive education reform from the point of social dimension, conducts predictive impact analysis, studies the inter-institutional clashes of interests in the contexts of reforms of inclusive education, as well as proposes new approaches for total inclusion in Armenia with the emphasis on social dimension.
During 2014 and 2015, Executive Director of Institute of Public Policy Arevik Anapiosyan conducted a research in collaboration with Grigor Hayrapetyan and Sofya Hovsepyan on “Approximation of Inclusive Education in Armenia to International Standards and Practices”.
The policy research thoroughly analyzed the state of art in the implementation of inclusive education reforms in Armenia and based on the drawbacks and the achievements identified 5 major policy related concerns that need to be addressed in order to consider the implementation of inclusive education in Armenia a successful reform: legislative framework, information flow and communication, quality of inclusive education, teacher education and capacity building, funding schemes. The policy recommendations have been properly communicated to the relevant stakeholders and certain changes have been recorded in the reform vector in line with the provided recommendations.