an International Fellowship Project
by Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova
The research is focused on the resources and perspectives for developing the
policy of inclusive education as a factor of social equity in today's Russia.
The main objective of this project is an analysis of conditions, elaboration of
the ways for implementation and proposition of social consequences of
integrative/inclusive education in a contemporary Russia' society. Children with
disabilities are in most cases in Russia taught in special schools which effect
cognitive and social development of the students. The project aims to study the
advantages and disadvantages of segregated educational system as well as check
the conditions for integrative schooling in order to give recommendations for
regional educational policy makers. I intend to do ethnographic evaluation study
as well as
survey and would like to engage mass media into public discussion of the issue. The project will have components of action and participatory research.
The specific tasks in the plan of fulfillment of the project for one year are
- Comparative analysis of policy of inclusive education in cross-cultural / international perspectives;
- interviews and focus-groups with experts on the matter of educational reform concerning the inclusive education
- survey of parents of the disabled and non-disabled children as well as students and teachers and other professionals involved
- in-depth interviews with selected parents and students
- case studies at the special school for segregated education and mainstream school where the disabled child is enrolled
Recommendations for policy implications, including the recommendation for
re-training of teachers, special educators and social pedagogues (school social
- engaging the local authorities to the discussion of the problem and its practical solution, including round table with administrators and tv program (one or two times) on the issue of the project
- dissemination of the results through mass media and scholarly publications as well as preparing handouts and information for popularization of the idea of inclusive education. My teaching for social work students which will serve as one of dissemination chanels for the research results.
- an explanation of how the results of the project might be applied in practice in the relevant country(ies), and if appropriate, more broadly to the region as a whole.
Today the important issues debated in public policy are related to unexpected
consequences of educational and economic reforms in Russia, re-defining
disability, segregation as a latent function of education, status of social work
and social pedagogy as new profession, re-formulation of 'defectology' into
special education in today's Russia,
empowerment as a principle of education and social work, social mobilization of the oppressed, activization of the disabled people's movement, enhancing action and participatory perspective in public policy analysis.
The idea of inclusive education is not debated yet in Russia but it may be very close to its implementation if we do research and action to promote it and to see the possible obstacles and perspectives.
The project will create a possibility to implement the recommendations and to
trace the progress of reform on a local level; to disseminate the findings on
federal level and internationally; to network with those in Russia who are
interested in pursuing the inslusive education; to promote research in different
aspects of this reform among my colleagues and students as well as in other
regions of Russia. This will be possible to do through
the arranging workshops and conference, publications, TV programs, Internet, and disseminating video-materials.
The outcomes of the research project will have significance for developing
policy measures and higher education in areas of teachers' training, special
education, social work, social medicine and sociology. The findings of the
research will be possible to use in new textbooks on related subjects. In
particular, the textbook on disability issues for social workers and social
pedagogues will be developed using the results of this research.