The final meeting has taken place in the Agency’s work with the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (MERA) to promote inclusive education in Greece. The work is part of the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP – succeeded by the Technical Support Instrument), funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM).
At the beginning of the activity, MERA identified five areas of importance which the work has focused on:
- Standardising administrative procedures in Centres for Educational and Counselling Support (KESY)
- Assessment protocols in kindergarten and primary education
- Assessment protocols in secondary education
- Transition procedures for learners
- Developing an inclusive education guide for all schools.
During the final meeting on 24 June, researchers and experts involved in the work presented the key outcomes of the work. The meeting was opened by MERA’s Director, Ioannis Zymvrakakis, Agency Director Cor J.W. Meijer and Yiannis Hadjiyiannis from DG REFORM. Athena Christopoulou from MERA outlined how the activity has supported MERA to develop key assets and guidelines to improve inclusive education in Greece.
Researchers and experts involved in the work highlighted key messages from the main outputs of the work – a conceptual paper, an online ‘study visit’ to Scotland, work with partners in Portugal and Italy and a series of working group meetings. The key messages are the main issues highlighted by researchers and national experts based on their work during the activity. The Ministry and the Greek experts involved will take these into account for further reflection and work.
The key messages included:
- the need for a cultural change in Greece, to broaden the understanding of what additional support needs and inclusive practice are;
- the need to focus less on removing learners with support needs from mainstream schools and more on ensuring schools’ capacity to work effectively with all learners;
- the need for improved collaboration between sectors such as education and health;
- the need for improved communication and collaboration between schools and KESY;
- a focus on quality education and better training for teachers.
Based on this collaboration between Greek and international experts and researchers, the Ministry will continue its efforts to create a more inclusive education system in Greece.