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Pupils with disabilities are forgotten and excluded from education in France

Unapei has relaunched its #Jaipasecole campaign, highlighting difficulties encountered by intellectually and cognitively disabled pupils to have access to education and what concrete actions must be taken.

For many years, Unapei has been highlighting the difficulties encountered by intellectually and cognitively disabled pupils to have access to education. For the past 4 years, Unapei has relaunched the #Jaipasecole campaign before the start of the school year and the platform, which collects testimonies from the families and professionals concerned.

The campaign gives visibility to a situation of structural exclusion. Some pupils are completely excluded, other only benefit from a few hours of teaching per week, or cannot go to class because of the lack of a specialised teacher or adapted materials. This is a clear violation of their rights, in a context of lack of clarity, where only pupils enrolled in mainstream schools are counted. The available data do not tell if their needs are met, nor how many teaching hours they are granted. And those who go to special schools are not even counted.

Unapei has thus created a tool that through its associations shows the level schooling of the pupils they support throughout France. The results are daunting: out of 7,949 children that are supported by the network, a third only benefit from a maximum of 6 hours of teaching per week and 18% have no schooling at all.

Concrete actions must be taken to provide all pupils with effective, individualised and not segregating educational, according to Unapei such as:

  • Consider the pupils enrolled in specialised establishments (IME, etc.) in the figures of the National Education, in order to have a realistic view of the situation,
  • Train teachers and educational staff on the specificities of pupils with disabilities so that they can adapt their teaching for the benefit of all;
  • To adapt educational programmes in terms of methods, rhythm and content;
  • Adapting the school environment and increasing the resources allocated to teachers and educational staff in order to provide the best possible conditions for pupils with disabilities;
  • Adapt the size of classes for pupils with disabilities;
  • Guarantee the possibility of appropriate therapeutic support for pupils with disabilities, regardless of where they attend school;
  • Organise collaborative educational projects between schools and specialised establishments, and set aside time for exchanges of practice and construction between professionals from the medical and social services and the national education system;
  • To guarantee continuity of care between school and leisure time for pupils with disabilities;
  • To raise awareness among the entire educational community of the diversity of disabilities, particularly invisible disabilities, and their consequences on learning and social life.

To view the original press release in French, click here.