Strong through diversity, inclusion project

The central and local public authorities from 14 schools of the districts of Strășeni and Sângerei became viable partners in the framework of the project “Strong through diversity – application of Inclusion Index” that is implemented by CCF Moldova. The project lasted for 19 months and aimed to promote inclusive values and to transform schools into child-friendly communities based on the Inclusion Index that is used in over 30 countries of the world, IPN reports.

In an online conference, inclusive education expert Viorica Cojocaru, of CCF Moldova, said that in the framework of the project, they aimed to ensure a continuous process of assessing the 14 schools based on the Inclusion Index in several stages, including familiarization with this instrument, organization of training activities with the 14 schools, namely with 15 teachers from each school, conducting of an initial research to reveal the difficulties faced by schools.

According to the expert, the capacities of the 210 involved teachers were strengthened during four days based on the Index that was translated into Romanian and distributed to institutions. The mentoring was conducted through 120 online and offline meetings based on the subjects identified in schools. There were also staged community mobilization activities on the initiative of students, as part of 14 groups of sixth-twelfth graders. 139 students were engaged, by 10-12 in each school.

Viorica Cojocaru noted that in the future, CCF Moldova intends to come up with a project proposal for continuing the process of developing schools and extending the geographical area to 20 districts, by three schools in each district.

Marina Bîlici, vice director of the Chisinau Theoretical Lyceum “Pro Succes”, said the schools nowadays experience different difficulties that place the students, teachers and parents in difficult situations. “The challenges we face daily make us more irascible and unconfident. The difficulties overshadow the nice part of the school. These challenges can be overcome if we bear in mind that the goal of the school is to ensure the appropriate state of children, parents and teachers, to promote respect for diversity, to contribute to developing the abilities of all the children,” stated Marina Bîlici.

Viorica Crăciun, principal of the Theoretical Lyceum “Nicolae Casso” of Chișcăreni village of Sângerei district, which is another partner of the project, said their institution has been among the first schools that promoted inclusive education since 2013. “The people usually consider that inclusion refers to the participation of children with disabilities and with special needs, but this is wrong. The project “Strong through diversity – application of Inclusion Index” promotes the development of a common school for everyone, where the voices of all the children are taken into account,” stated Viorica Crăciun.

As part of the project, the institutions benefitted from assistance in implementing their development plans. As a result, there were built external and external recreation places, reading rooms, better equipped toilets and there was even renovated a stadium. Communication and counseling seminars were staged for students and teachers.

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