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Study: Teachers don’t know how to approach handicapped children

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Prague, March 28 (CTK) – Czech teachers often do not know how to work with either handicapped or talented pupils in their classes, and experts are often unable to describe the way for them to meet special educational needs of particular children, a study released by the Education Ministry has shown.

The study, available on the ministry’s website, analyses the results of the inclusion in education project launched a couple of years ago.

It says the recommendations that various pedagogical-psychological consulting centres issue for teachers differ in terms of volume, quality of instructions and the presentation of the results of children’s psychological examination.

The preparation of teachers for providing supportive measures for handicapped or talented pupils in mainstream classes had not been sufficient, the analysis states.

Schools complain about pedagogical centres failing to discuss the issued recommendations with them. On the other hand, it remains unclear who among the school staff is responsible for the exchange of information with the partner centre, the study showed.

Another obstacle within the inclusion system is the complex paperwork schools must do to achieve the state-subsidised measures in support of handicapped and extraordinarily talented children.

Quite often, flaws appear in pedagogical centres’ documents, which say a child needs a personal assistant teacher, but do not say why or what the teacher’s task should be.

The pedagogical centres also disrespect the role the assistant teachers should play. They wrongly recommend the granting of an assistant to children with only a slight learning handicap, but never to talented children, the analysis says.

Children with various types of handicap have been entitled to mainstream class education since 2005.

Since September 2016, a government directive has enabled schools to draw state subsidies for supportive measures to meet special educational needs of handicapped and talented children.

Last year, the most expensive part of the inclusion in education project were assistant teachers, who cost 1.35 billion crowns, compared to the supportive measures’ total costs of 2.07 billion.

The number of assistant teachers has been rising at all types of schools, the analysis says.

It praises the fact that problems of pupils with behavioral disorder and autism started to be solved.

According to Education Minister Robert Plaga (ANO), the current system of inclusion in education is excessively cost-intensive. He has pledged to check and possibly change its content and financial management.

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