April 10, 2021

The end of the Special Education schools?

The end of the Special Education schools?

Is it beneficial for a student, have the disability, to be educated in an ordinary school instead of a special one? Yes it is for the State School Board that has recently approved that educational reform Prepared by Isabel Celaá, consider the possibility that, by the year 2025, all schools will be adapted and have the necessary resources to be fully inclusive. In this way it is intended that minors who are in Special Education centers are all enrolled in the regular system. And what will happen with the Special Education schools? «They will be reoriented to be turned into support resources for inclusion, radiating to the whole educational system», exposes the amendment proposed by the Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities (Cermi) that went ahead at the school board meeting on January 8. The Ministry is now evaluating this proposal that could be included in the draft reform of the Lomce.

At present, 173,797 students have some disability, of which 34,349 are enrolled in special schools, which represent 18.80% of children and youth, according to the latest data available to the Ministry of Education.

"The work of special education centers has been very valuable, which has been very good, but education must be approached with a new look, in the key of inclusion for all people. The problem is that our laws legitimize segregation by disability and Spain has already been warned by the United Nations », explains Jesús Martín, Delegate for Human Rights at Cermi. According to Martín, an example of inclusion would be Portugal, where only two percent of the students are in centers that are not the ordinary ones. Having these "extra" resources of support for these children does not have to be more burdensome for the state coffers because, in their opinion, "it is more expensive to have two parallel systems". Martín says that some parents have gone to court to be guaranteed the right to choose in what system they want their children to be educated but "it is the education administration that decides after hearing the opinion of a psychopedagogical team."

The Cermi spokesperson takes as an example his own case: "I have a physical disability and in the institute directly left me exempt from taking the subject of Physical Education. At that time I had to go to the library in such a complex age in which sport is an important part of socialization. What would it have cost them to let me do physical education with the adaptations I would have needed?»

The proposal, however, has generated division in the sector. The platform Inclusive Education Yes, Special It also ensures that it does not feel represented by the Cermi that "has not had the minimum interest to know the needs of families and our point of view," says Patricia Giral, its spokesperson. "We believe that it is very important to provide schools with more resources and also to optimize resources, but this must be done in ordinary schools as well as special education centers. Each child must be treated as a particular case to be assessed individually and offer the type of schooling best suited to their needs. In his opinion, "the premise that one system is better than another is wrong. Many are well in ordinary schools, but there are others who can be better in a special education center having other needs»

The platform is already preparing a rally that will take place next 23rd in Valladolid in which 30 entities related to intellectual disability will participate to prevent all children from ending up in the ordinary system. Luis Pérez de la Maza, technical director of the Aucavi Foundation, believes that "there are contrary interpretations of the European regulations that Cermi uses as an argument for a change. Many people have an ordinary education, but others do not. ". Of a similar opinion is the president of the union of professors ANPE, Nicolás Fernández: "As a general criterion we are all in agreement with the integration, but the special education centers play a fundamental role because still those of ordinary regime are not prepared and there are children with a huge disability ». Other experts, such as Francisco López Rupérez, former president of the State School Board, say that "it is the parents who have the preferential right to choose the type of education that will be given to their children and, for that right to be effective, the offer must be plural because the disabilities are diverse ».


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