MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan education authorities, UNICEF and the Latin American Social Sciences School, or FLACSO, on Wednesday launched the first one-year training course for traveling teacher’s assistants, focusing on academic inclusion to promote equal opportunities for children.
Some 250 education professionals have enrolled in the Mandela Network, a program of inclusive schools and kindergartens working to enhance children’s development.
Paolo Mefalopulos, UNICEF’s representative in Uruguay, discussed the relevance of the program in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals during a ceremony in Montevideo attended by President Tabare Vazquez.
“Ensuring that everyone has access to an inclusive education is a goal that should mobilize the energy of all stakeholders in government, civil society, the private sector, the media and all citizens,” Mefalopulos said.
In the past three years, the Mandela Network has assisted about 8,000 children with disabilities in 30 schools and kindergartens in Uruguay, the UNICEF official said.
FLACSO’s director in Uruguay, Carmen Beramendi, said the start of interagency cooperation to promote inclusive education “is already an act of inclusion.”
A decade ago, during his first term, Vazquez set in motion “a change in education” with a program targeting community teachers, Education and Culture Minister Maria Julia Muñoz said.
Traveling teacher’s assistants provide support in schools to teachers working with disabled children who attend regular schools.