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Brussels confirms the first step towards inclusive Europe: The Europe CARES Initiative has been registered
The European Commission issued on Wednesday, February 27th 2019, the Decision no. (C(2019)1545) validating the first civic initiative in the history of the European Union on the proposal of a European Directive for the Inclusive Education of Persons with Disabilities- initiated by the European Center for the Rights of the Children with Disabilities (CEDCD) in January 2019.
CEDCD has gathered parents of children with disabilities from 7 EU Member States (Romania, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Hungary), who decided to make their voice heard at European level for the right to inclusive quality education for thei children.
This initiative is based on the acute needs of Europe and Romania regarding the education of over 15 million children with disabilities.
At the EU’s level, 2 out of 5 students with disabilities don’t continue their studies past gymnasium and over 40% remain unqualified.
In Romania, 46% of children with disabilities are isolated in special schools and those who study in mass schools don’t receive the necessary support. There are counties in Romania where there is 1 support teacher for 150 children with disabilities, the curricula is not adapted to their needs, there are no accessible and assistive technologies. Most often, students with disabilities are victims of discrimination, exclusion or abuse in the current education system.
The parents spend around 4.000-18.000 euros per year for the therapies of the children with disabilitiesand the private support teachers and those who can’t afford it remain isolated in homes and institutions. 93% of the General Directorates of Social Assistance and Child Protection from the 42 counties of Romania have reported the lack of early intervention services for children with disabilities in the community.
In order for adults and children with disabilities to benefit from inclusive and quality education, which gives them the chance to become social contributors, we need unified regulation of inclusive education in the European space to ensure the existence of a minimum set of standards and principles to guide implementation at the Member State level and to avoid slippages and different forms of exclusion.
The decision of the European Commission confirms the legitimacy and the legality of CEDCD's initiative and the Europe CARES initiative, which responds to a lack of regulation at the European Union level regarding disability. The lack of European legislation in this area creates many problems at the Member States’ level, manifested through aspects ranging from exclusion, segregation, to the absence of support measures and accommodation for pupils/students with disabilities in the general compulsory education cycle and not only.
“We welcome the decision of the European Commission regarding the validation of the opportunity and legality of the Europe CARES Civic Initiative and we reaffirm our confidence and commitment in supporting the European civic process for promoting the first proposal of an European Directive for the Education of Persons with Disabilities that we, the parents of children with disabilities from 7 European Union Member States, have assumed and proposed”,declares Maria Mădălina TURZA, representative of the Europe CARES Committee.
As soon as the administrative formalities are completed, all EU citizens will be able to support this process through an electronic vote. All the necessary information will be made public on the website of the Europe CARES Initiative- www.europecares.info.