A group of NGOs (Our Sun, Human Rights Action, Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro, the First Association of Parents of Children and Youth with Special Needs, Association of Parents of Children with Disabilities in Podgorica, Centre for Civic Education, Women’s Rights Centre, Juventas, Women’s Safe House and Centre for Women and Peace Education – ANIMA) submitted a letter today to the Prime Minister, Minister of Education and Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, calling attention to the fact that problems with the hiring of teaching assistants for children with special educational needs prevent these children to exercise their right to free inclusive education. The NGOs proposed that the Government should:
(1) Immediately ensure that schools envisage a teaching assistant position for children with special educational needs in their acts on systematization of job posts and so overcome limitations in employment in public institutions in the pre-election period and allow for immediate conclusion of contracts with teaching assistants;
(2) Ensure that persons engaged as teaching assistants be primarily those who are adequately trained for the job and with most experience. As a result, it would be possible to retain staff trained for the job and with valuable experience gained in the previous years, to the benefit of children who suffer due to the replacement of assistants whose help and support they have gotten used to;
(3) Propose to the Parliament amendments to Art. 30a of the Act on Education of Children with Special Educational Needs (”Teaching Assistant”) to stipulate that teaching assistants are to be paid from the state budget, instead of demanding that this challenging job be done “as a rule on a voluntary basis”, as is currently provided by law.
The letter can be downloaded here. We invite all interested NGOs to join us and help children with special educational needs realize their right to free inclusive primary education.