A step forward towards inclusiveness: The successful graduation of the third cohort of Assistants to Children/Students with Special Education Needs
Ensuring equal treatment and offering an inclusive Vocational Education and Training (VET) offer. In 2017 the predecessor of the project Support to Vocational Education and Training (VET) Reform in Kosovo, KSV/020, namely Support to Vocational Education and Training Reform in Kosovo: Establishment of Centres of Competence in Ferizaj and PrizrenProject, KSV/015, supported the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) in the development of Level 5 Qualifications for assistants to children/students with special education needs (SEN). The occupational standards were developed by local experts, while the development of the curriculum, the teaching and learning material, and the training of teachers was conducted by the Project in the framework of a public Private Partnership with an internationally renowned company, Pearson, which implements Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications recognised in more than 70 countries around the world. The implementation of the qualification has been continuously monitored by a group consisting of the representatives of the Project KSV/020, the Ministry of Education and Science (MES), the Center of Competencies in Ferizaj and the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education (AVETAE).
As of February 2021, the third generation of students has graduated this qualification making this initiative a success story that serves as motivation to develop other qualifications that lead to specializations and that are needed in the labour market. The qualification is being offered in four VET providing institutions in Pristina, Peja, Prizren and Ferizaj, and until now a total of 217 students have graduated. The support of the Project along with the will and determination of stakeholders have made this initiative a sustainable one which continues to have a huge impact in strengthening the services for the inclusion of students with special needs in public schools.
Taking into consideration that Level 5 qualifications represent a novelty for the labour market, the MES organized a ceremony to award diplomas to the third generation of students. During the ceremony, the graduates expressed their joy in completing this qualification and their readiness in going into the labour market. The graduation of the third generation of students is only a mere example of the magic and sustainability of this initiative. The success of this initiative can be seen through employment figures, as until now 85 of the graduates have been hired by public schools through an official decision of the government while 35 have been hired by UNICEF. Furthermore, according to non-official data, some of the graduates are independently employed by families needing assistance in taking care of children with special needs.
The Project is looking forward to welcome more generations in this program who seek to become positive actors in the field of special education. Such an accomplishment encourages stakeholders to continue supporting professional qualifications that improve the quality of life of special needs children/students and that in return contribute to the development of Kosovo’s society.
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Both KSV/015 and KSV/020 projects are financed by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and implemented by LuxDev, the Luxembourg Agency for Development Cooperation.