site.btaOver 24,000 Children with Special Educational Needs Enrolled in Education System
The policy related to inclusive education is perhaps one of the most important policies that started with the adoption of the new Pre-school and School Education Act (PSEA), Education Minister Galin Tzokov said at a discussion entitled "Inclusive Education - Problems and Solutions" which took place here on Thursday.
The child support extended to children with special educational needs (SEN) in the education system will increase by 7% for 2024, he stated.
The forum was organized by the Bulgarian Ombudsman Diana Kovatcheva and the Education Minister. The discussion is part of the Ombudsman's National Campaign "For the Rights of Children and People with Disabilities", within the framework of which additional BGN 8 million were provided for inclusive education for children with special educational needs for 2023.
Each year, the Regional Education Offices produce very detailed reports on the state of inclusive education in the different regions of the country. One of the findings is that the number of children with special educational needs is increasing – currently there are a total of 24,541 children and students in kindergartens and schools in Bulgaria. There are 6,052 children in kindergartens and pre-school groups and 18,489 students in schools from 1st to 12th grade, Tzokov pointed out. Kovatcheva presented different numbers – over 20,000 children between 1st and 12th grade and over 7,000 children in pre-school groups and kindergartens.
Ten thousand children with SEN and disabilities are actually out of the education system, said the National Ombudsman. She noted that 70% of kindergartens and schools in Sofia do not have an accessible environment and there is a shortage of assistant teachers.
Tzokov explained that the other important problem is related to the lack of qualified specialists. The total number of pedagogical specialists recruited in the school year 2023/2024 in all kindergartens and schools related to the inclusive education process is 5,526.