COFACE Families Europe’s Disability Platform for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their families (COFACE-Disability) held a one-day conference in Monza, Italy on 28 March 2023. The conference examined key actions to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and to build inclusive societies.
The conference brought together representatives from organisations of persons with disabilities and their families, service providers, policy-makers and education professionals from across Europe. The presentations began with a focus on the successes and challenges in the Italian education system, before moving to a wider, European perspective. Speakers examined all levels of the education system in both formal and informal education settings, such as sports facilities and creative settings.
The Agency participated in a panel session entitled ‘What is Europe doing to boost inclusive education?’ alongside representatives from European Schoolnet, the Department for Work and Social Economy in Belgium and the European Disability Forum. The Agency’s Policy Officer, Antonella Mangiaracina, introduced the Agency and its mission to help member countries improve their inclusive education policy and practice for all learners. She presented the Agency’s Voices into Action (VIA) activity and discussed the importance of including learners’ and families’ voices in policy-making for inclusive education. She highlighted several of the activity’s key messages, including the need to enable all stakeholders to participate meaningfully in decision-making that affects them, especially those who are marginalised. Finally, she outlined the Agency’s involvement in the European Commission’s Technical Support Instrument (TSI), which is supporting several countries in their efforts to improve their education systems.
More information on VIA or TSI is available on the Agency website. More details on the conference, including links to the speakers’ presentations, are available on the conference webpage. Visit the COFACE website for more information on its work.