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Understand what assistance is available for children with special needs in Azerbaijan, as well as in the mainstream public and private school systems...
Azerbaijan's facilities related to special needs education are limited.
NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) work with the Azerbaijani government to develop and implement more inclusive practices for people with disabilities. In the mid-2000s the National Program on the Development of Inclusive Education was launched to provide the option for children with disabilities to be educated in mainstream classrooms alongside their able-bodied peers.
This signified a change from the traditional approach whereby special-needs children were educated at home (a very common practice with varying results), permanently institutionalised, or taught in completely separate schools, of which there are a handful across the country.
Despite the program being launched almost a decade ago, this kind of integration is extremely rare outside the urban areas of the country, mostly due to a lack of infrastructure such as wheelchair ramps, transportation, and modified toilets.
Of the estimated 60,000 disabled children living in Azerbaijan only 300 are being educated this way. Another 1,000 children attend a dedicated special needs school, 2,000 are enrolled in special-needs boarding schools, 7,000 are officially enrolled in home education and the rest (approximately 45,000) have no education at all.
An updated version of the program (the State Program on Development of Inclusive Education in Azerbaijan Republic for 2013-2020) has been launched but is still in its infancy. Moving into 2015 there are 16 mainstream schools in Azerbaijan that accept special needs students. Of these, two schools have the facilities needed to accommodate these students.
- Rights of Children published by Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs