The bilateral cooperation project Escola de Todos aims to strengthen Cape Verde's education system in relation to inclusion, with the training of teachers for the care of students with disabilities and special educational needs (SEN), the development of support documents for the elaboration of a national policy of inclusive education and provision of specialized spaces for complementary educational activities with these children. Implemented by the Brazilian and Cape Verdean ministries of education in partnership with the Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM, Brazil), the initiative seeks to offer children and young people with SEN with the same quality as the other students in the country.
UNESCO has promoted as an international goal the provision of access to quality education for all people, regardless of factors such as gender, ethnicity and disability. Although there is no precise data, UNESCO estimates that 5% of the world's children are disabled, with about 80% of them living in developing countries. At the same time, children with special educational needs (such as intellectual impairment, visual impairment or deafness) are less likely to complete basic education. This has negative individual and collective repercussions, in particular social exclusion and the feeding of a vicious circle around poverty. There is thus a need for inclusive education that promotes greater autonomy for children with disabilities, with their integration into traditional school systems. This orientation requires additional resources, both in terms of teachers with specialized training and access to adapted teaching materials.
Following the perspective advocated by UNESCO, Cape Verde has developed initiatives in the area of special inclusive education, including the drawing up of specific plans which include the training of teachers in SEN. According to the 2000 census, 3% of the population living in Cape Verde has some type of disability, and 2001 and 2002 surveys identified about 1,000 children with SEN enrolled in the country's schools (being visual impairment and deafness the most frequent cases ). However, the number of teachers and technicians trained to deal with this audience was therefore insufficient to meet demand.
- The project School of All aims to support the Cape Verdean education system in the development and offer of inclusive education in its various interfaces. In a first phase (2006-2007), multiplier teachers were trained in three areas: Braille system and unified mathematical code; orientation and mobility (for students with visual impairment); and teaching the Portuguese language to the deaf, with the provision of didactic material and specialized pedagogical kits. In a second, more comprehensive phase, begun in 2008, the project has been carrying out activities in three main strands:
Conducting a teacher training course (250 hours) for the specialized educational service complementary to schooling, comprising 11 modules: Distance education; Specialized educational assistance; Assistive technology; Physical disability; Intellectual deficiency; Visual impairment; Deafness; Autism; High skills / giftedness; Pedagogical evaluation of students with disabilities; and Curricular adaptation. Two-thirds of the modules were carried out at a distance (virtual learning environment) and the remainder through face-to-face classes (both in Cape Verde and Brazil).
- Development of guidelines for public policies in inclusive education and assistive technology, with a view to strengthening the process of inclusion of students with SEN in regular schools. In this context, several studies were carried out in Cape Verde that resulted in documents and activities to guide the elaboration of a national policy of inclusive education, of which the actions related to the Cape Verdean sign language are outstanding. For example, the registration of signs used by hearing impaired people in the different islands of the country, the development of a sign language in Creole (in print and digital formats) and the provision of sign language and interpreter training courses were included. This part resulted in 2012 a book in which is described part of the activities carried out in the project until then.
- Implementation of three multifunctional resource rooms to carry out specialized educational services in order to serve students with SEN. The Cape Verdean government provided rooms in schools in the islands of Santo Antão, Santiago and Fogo, which were renovated and equipped with the support of the Brazilian government, serving as a reference in accessibility for students with disabilities. The country thus has nine multifunctional resource rooms. This strand also included the training of teachers and students to practice in the multifunctional resource rooms, through a classroom course using the materials available in the rooms.
In all, about 300 teachers from Cape Verde's primary and secondary schools have already been covered by the program, as well as 50 teachers trained in specialized educational services, 40 multiplier teachers in transcription and adaptation of Braille material, and 4 multiplier teachers in deafblindness and assistive technology.
The School of All project, in a similar format, was also developed in Angola between 2008 and 2015, with the support of the Brazilian Ministry of Education.
Supported by: Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC)
Agency of implementation:
On the Brazilian side: Ministry of Education and UFSM
On the Cape Verdean side: Ministry of Education, Directorate General for Basic and Secondary Education (DGEBS / ME)
Federal University of Santa Maria, Education Center (CE / UFSM)
Ana Cláudia Oliveira Pavão, Project Coordinating Teacher