Upon request of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth in Cyprus, the European Commission is co-operating with the Agency to assist in preparing a new bill for inclusive education in Cyprus. The initiative is funded by the European Union through the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP).
The main objective of the second phase of the action is the formulation of the Regulations. These will accompany the draft bill, with the view to address and provide the necessary details on the implementation of the reform. The second phase began with a kick-off meeting held in September 2019, followed by a study visit to Portugal in November.
The second phase continued with the organisation of Working Groups on 22 and 23 January 2020. The delegation was comprised of a representative of the European Commission, three European experts from the United Kingdom, Portugal and Sweden, and Agency staff.
After a welcome by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth, the delegation was briefed on the Cyprus Education System by the Steering Committee from the Ministry. The meeting continued at the Pedagogical Institute, with three parallel Working Groups. The groups included education professionals, parents’ groups, non-government organisations and key policy‑makers from the Ministry, among others. Each Working Group was dedicated to a specific thematic area of inclusive education:
- Types of educational provision and support, leadership and teaching strategies.
- Assessment and support procedures, focusing on learners, teachers, leaders and learning environments.
- The role of resource centres.
The three European experts presented their countries’ experiences in the field of inclusive education, supporting the Working Groups with their expertise in each of the above key areas. Participants with their active involvement, commitment and constructive presence engaged in a fruitful and constructive dialogue. The discussions indicated various issues that will be further elaborated in the second meeting, to be held in March.