Photo: MJGDSLibrary on Flickr
In a bid to improve the educational opportunities for children with disabilities, our grantee in Montenegro, Staze NGO, has laid the foundations for standardising and norming the service of Teaching Assistant.
Many researches on a global level have shown that Teaching Assistants (TAs) make a real difference in the process of including children with disabilities in national education system. TAs help to reduce stress, workload and disruption in class.
In 2013, Montenegro adopted The Strategy of Inclusive Education (2014-2018) which includes TAs, but their role has yet to be developed. Therefore, the Embassy supported Staze NGO, which gathers parents of children and youth with disabilities, to research the needs, produce standards and develop the model of teaching assistance.
The one-year long project included children with SEN in 133 elementary schools and preschool institutions in five Montenegrin municipalities.
According to Tamara Milic from the Montenegrin Ministry of Education, a partner on the project, the research carried out within the project has shown that teaching assistance needs to be legally and normatively regulated. This includes detailed description of their work, activities and conditions. Milic stressed that a teaching assistant should provide access to education of children with special educational needs in accordance with children’s individual development and educational programs.
“It is especially important that teaching assistant take care that their presence and activities do not interfere with a child having fun and socialising. They should also avoid to perform actions instead of a child and assistants should not take over the job of teachers,” Milic said on the presentation of the project results on March 25.
Based on the research, Staze NGO is now advocating for changes of legislation. “Our next steps is to initiate amendment of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Education of Children with Special Needs and to ensure continuity of hiring assistants through a secure source of financing,” says Anka Djurisic, director of Staze NGO.