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Improving Inclusive Education in Nicaragua

IBE actions are showing a relevant impact in Latin America by strengthening ministries’ capacities to understand inclusive education and implement inclusive practices. In Latin America, there is still a challenge to reform the educational systems to be more inclusive. Traditional concepts of inclusion are still common, for example, the integration of learners with special needs in mainstream schools, and institutional and curricular proposals focused on diversity through separated provisions.  Furthermore, teacher practices are often based on the idea of a homogenous culture and society, and a “standard” learner profile.

Since 2007, the Nicaraguan government has been constructing an educational model that considers education as a human right, a process of personal and social construction, and key for the sustainable development of the family, the community and the country. In light of this, the Ministry of Education (MINED) has designed the National Strategy of Education to provide training and an integral educational development through mechanisms facilitating the access to education. The IBE with the Division of Special Education (DIGEESP) of the Ministry of Education of Nicaragua (MINED) and the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) co-organized a workshop on inclusive education  entitled, “Development of capacities of facilitators/developers in inclusive education” in Managua from July 25- 27 2012.

It gathered the pedagogical advisors of the 16 departments of Nicaragua, and staff from the Divisions of Special Education, Pre-primary, Primary, Secondary and Adult Education (MINED) and the Centers of Educational Resources to attend diversity (CREAD). The workshop facilitated a constructive dialogue about inclusive education and particularly the design and development of policies and programs for the national and local contexts and challenges in Nicaragua. A variety of conceptual presentations and discussions were held as well as different groups and individual activities and analysis of study cases taking as a reference the learning tool “Module for the development of capacities in inclusive education” produced by the IBE.

The concept and dimensions of inclusive curricula, inclusive schools, and inclusive teachers to support the development of inclusive educational policies, were strongly appreciated by workshop participants as possible paths to advance the inclusive education agenda at national and local levels.