According to the 2012 Law on Education, inclusive education implies ensuring equal access to education for all students, taking into account the diversity of their special education needs and individual capabilities (Art. 2.27). The Primorsky territory (krai) endorses the definition of the federal law in the 2013 Law on Education in Primorsky Krai (Art. 2.8).
The Federal City of Moscow, in its 2010 Law on Education of Persons with Disabilities, as amended in 2016, defines inclusive education as the opportunity for learners with disabilities to receive education or upbringing together with their peers, including the provision of joint education, leisure activities and various types of continuing training (Art. 2.3).
Special education needs
The 2012 Law on Education defines students with disabilities and recognizes the special education needs of those learners. A student with health limitations is an individual who has physical and/or psychological development impairments, as assessed by the psychological, medical and pedagogical commission (PMPC), which prevent him or her from acquiring education without the creation of special conditions (Art. 2).
According to the 2012 Law on Education, learners with disabilities can be educated in regular settings together with their peers and/or in separate classes/groups and/or in separate education institutions (Art. 79.4). The choice falls within the competence of parents and/or the legal representatives, according to the principle of proximity and based on the most adequate conditions to meet the child’s needs, in accordance with the PMPC’s assessment.
Integration and inclusion serve as alternative, complementary forms of education provision to separate settings. The integration of children with functional limitation into regular schools is expected to be supported by correctional supportive services.
Within separate correctional education, institutions are categorized according to the type of learner needs. Separate correctional education institutions provide special general education to:
- Deaf learners (type I)
- Learners with hearing impairments (type II)
- Blind learners (type III)
- Learners with visual impairments (type IV)
- Learners with severe speech difficulties (type V)
- Learners with physical disabilities (type VI)
- Learners with cognitive development disorders (type VII)
- Learners with intellectual disabilities (type VIII).
Specialized personnel who are trained to assist children with disabilities are only deployed in separate education institutions. In this context, resource centres have been established to provide remedial services to children integrated in regular schools. These resource centres also train regular schoolteachers who work with learners with special education needs.
So far, four federal resource centres have been set up to assist children with different special needs (according to the Official Letter 636/07/2019 of the Deputy Minister of Education of the Russian Federation).
Serving all levels of education, resource training centres for people with disabilities (REMCs) provide support to basic vocational educational institutions (BVEIs). As of 2018, within the state programme Accessible Environment for 2011–20, 28 REMCs and 97 BVEIs had been set up throughout the country, including 3 in Moscow. The plan was to establish BVEIs in all federal entities by 2020.
At the city level, the 2013 Law on Education in Saint Petersburg, as amended in 2019, established that education for children with disabilities can be provided in inclusive education settings, in separate classes and groups, and via home-based education (Art. 10). Conversely, the City of Moscow’s 2010 Law on Education of Persons with Disabilities permits education provision in separate classes and/or groups as a form of compensatory training or in special/correctional classes only if students with disabilities are not able to receive education in inclusive settings (Art. 5.2).
In most entities, education for persons with disabilities is imparted in separate settings. In line with the federal law, in the Sverdlovsk region (oblast) education for students with disabilities is provided in integrated settings, in separate classes and/or groups or on an individual basis (2013 Law on Education in Sverdlovsk Oblast). In Rostov Oblast, education provision is organized in special correctional comprehensive education institutions and/or in boarding schools for students with disabilities (2004 Law on Education in Rostov Oblast, as amended in 2008, Art. 5.2.5) and for children and youth with behavioral disorders (Art. 5.2.9), and in sanatorium for children under long-term treatment (Art. 5.2.7). In addition, students residing in rural areas are entitled to study in boarding schools if they cannot reach schools because of adverse weather conditions or distance (Art. 5.2). In Stavropol Krai, learners who for health reasons are not able to receive education are allowed to receive education at home or in medical institutions or through distance learning (2013 Law on Education of Stavropol Krai, as amended in 2019, Art. 18).
Despite the adoption of an inclusive education approach, the 2013 Law on Education in Primorsky Krai also provides separate education for the deaf, the blind and learners with visual impairments, severe speech difficulties, behavioural disorders, cognitive development disorders, autistic spectrum disorders and physical disabilities (Art. 8.23).
Ethnic and linguistic groups and indigenous groups
Education provision for indigenous peoples takes into account their nomadic lifestyle. In the 2016/17 school year, nine kindergartens, one kindergarten–elementary school and three general special schools provided education in nomadic places in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
Early identification, screening and assessment
The PMPC is responsible for carrying out psychological, medical and pedagogical assessment and for identifying physical and/or mental development problems. Based on the examination, the PMPC provides recommendations about the type of psychological, medical and pedagogical assistance needed and the most adequate education and training (Order 1082/2013).
Defined in the Decree 1839/2016 of the Government of the Russian Federation, the Concept of Early Intervention Development up to 2020 regulates the provision of integrated services, including medical, social, and psychological and pedagogical services. Early intervention serves all entities of the Russian Federation and provides comprehensive support for the development of the child.
The 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation, as amended in 2014, lays down the right to education for all (Art. 43.1). It guarantees access to free preschool, secondary and secondary vocational education provision (Art. 43.2), while access to free higher education is ensured on a competitive basis (Art. 43.3). The Constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of ‘sex, race, nationality, language, origin, material and official status, place of residence, attitude to religion, convictions, membership of public associations, or of other circumstances’ and any limitations of ‘human rights on social, racial, national, language or religious grounds’ (Art. 19.2). In line with the constitutional provision, non-discrimination in education is affirmed in the 2012 Law on Education (Art. 5).
Following the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2012, Federal Law 419/2014 amended more than 700 regional legislative acts concerning the social protection of persons with disabilities. The law lays legal foundations for ensuring barrier-free access of persons with disabilities to facilities and services and for creating anti-discrimination conditions for the exercise of the rights and interests of the concerned groups.
Between 2009 and 2014, standards were developed regulating education for learners with disabilities and cognitive development disorders (Order 1599/2014) at preschool (Order 1155/2013), primary general (Order 373/2009 and 1598/2014), basic general education (Order 1897/2010) and secondary general education (Order 413/2012) levels. Reaffirming their rights to benefit from equal opportunities and quality education, the standards aim to maximize these learners’ access to and retention in education in line with their capabilities and needs. To meet this objective, flexible education programmes have been introduced, adapting general education curricula to the learners’ characteristics. Based on the PMPC’s assessment, the adapted education programme defines the training conditions and education content, with consent of the parents/legal representatives (Law on Education, Art. 55). The adapted education programme is designed to meet the diverse needs of learners, including children and youth with visual and hearing impairments, students with severe speech disorders, children with multiple disabilities and children with cognitive development disorders.
Concerning the policy approach, the country is committed to developing a system of inclusive education and to simultaneously supporting the existing organizations providing adapted education programmes, such as correctional schools, pre-primary education programmes and special kindergartens. The Ministry of Education holds an annual countrywide competition for best inclusive school to identify and promote the best education practices for the inclusion of students with disabilities.
The Law on Education of Persons with Disabilities in the City of Moscow reflects a commitment to creating the conditions for the provision of inclusive education of persons with disabilities in public educational institutions (Art. 5.1). In order to realize inclusive education, the law considers the needs of all learners, the recommendations of the PMPC, the work conditions for teachers and the class ratio of students with to students without disabilities (Art. 23).
The 1993 Constitution, as amended in 2014, contains a gender equality provision, recognizing that men and women enjoy equal rights and freedoms and are entitled to exercise them equally (Art. 19.3). The principle of equality in education is reiterated in the 2012 Law on Education (Art. 5). No additional legal acts regulating education access and provision for gender minorities have been found either at the federal or at the regional level.
Ethnic and linguistic groups
According to the 1993 Constitution, everyone has the right to use the native language and to chose the language of upbringing and education (Art. 26.2). While Russian is the official language of the entire territory, all peoples have the right to ‘preserve their native language’ and the State is mandated to create the conditions ‘for its study and development’ (Art. 68). In conformity with the constitutional provisions, the 1999 Law on the Guarantees of the Rights of the Indigenous Minorities of the Russian Federation protects the interests of the indigenous minorities in the country, regulating the conditions for their socio-economic and cultural development. According to the law, indigenous minorities include peoples inhabiting Russia’s territories who maintain their traditional way of living, economic activities and crafts. Recognized as independent ethnic communities, they account for less than 50,000 people.
Within the Concept for the Sustainable Development of Indigenous Minorities of the North, Siberia and the Far East, a plan on increasing access to educational services for the target group provides support to learn in the mother tongue and develop local cultures for the period up to 2025.
The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug regulates the conditions for maintaining the traditional lifestyle of the Northern indigenous minorities, including the environment, by providing medical, cultural and education support (2006 Law on Protection of Primordial Living Environment and Traditional Way of Life of the Indigenous Minorities of the North, Art. 9.1) and by protecting and promoting their native languages (Art. 11.1). Likewise, the Republic of Kalmykia is committed to preserving the local languages by, among other measures, supporting publications and research in the languages and developing an education system aimed at improving the language and culture of the local communities. Informed by the principle of protecting and developing national cultures and traditions, the 108/1994 Law on Education of the Kabardian-Balkar Republic, as amended in 2003, provides education that takes into consideration both regional and national specificities (Part 3, Art. 1). The protection of the rights of indigenous minorities in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug is regulated at the constitutional level. The Basic Law of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug outlines measures for restoring and preserving indigeneity of the local populations.
Acknowledging the presence of many ethnic communities, the National Policy Strategy of the Federal City of Moscow for the period up to 2025 aims to promote civic-patriotic education by implementing education programmes for the development of cultural values and national traditions of the peoples of Russia (Art. 4.4.3).
Feeding programmes are organized throughout the country to support children and youth from poor households. For example, the Federal City of Moscow provides hot meals to students in public and public boarding schools (Order 2168/2010), and similar programmes exist in the Federal City of Saint Petersburg (Law 32-13/2009 on Additional Social Support Measures), Krasnoyarsk Krai and Chelyabinsk Oblast.
As part of the special supportive services, students with disabilities receive two free meals a day at the expense of the regional budget in Sverdlovsk Oblast (Law on Education, Art. 22.1), Novosibirsk Oblast (Law on Education, Art. 9.10) and Stavropol Krai (Law on Education, Art. 15.4).
Cooperation across sectors
As stated in the 2012 Law on Education, administration of the education system is based on the principles of legitimacy, democracy, autonomy of educational institutions and transparency of the education system (Art. 89).
By the 2012 Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, the Presidential Commission on Disability was established as presidential deliberative body to coordinate federal and regional public authorities, local authorities, non-government associations, scientific and other institutions and organizations concerning issues related to disability.
In 2015, a working group was set up at the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to develop a state concept for early assistance to children at risk, children with disabilities, children with genetic diseases and their families.
Cooperation across government levels
Public education is administered by the federal public authorities and by public authorities of the entities of the Russian Federation, while education at the municipal and district levels is carried out by the relevant local authorities. At the federal level, federal executive bodies are responsible for developing and implementing national policies and for regulating education provision at different education levels. A separate federal executive body is responsible for monitoring. Federal and local authorities are coordinated in the exercise of their mandates.
Order 1309/2015 of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation approves the procedures for ensuring accessibility of education facilities and services for persons with disabilities, including non-residential buildings, premises, buildings and facilities and education services. Since 2016, 26 federal, 85 regional and over 2,000 municipal roadmaps for the gradual development of barrier-free environments have been implemented to increase accessibility of public infrastructure, in line with the measures of the Accessible Environment state programme for 2011–20, approved by Decree 363/2019.
Concerning education, the Modern School Federal Project aims, among other goals, to renovate education infrastructure. Education institutions have also been prioritized in the federal budget allocation.
Curriculum and learning materials
Students with disabilities are entitled to receive education through the development of an adapted education programme and with the support of special textbooks and training equipment for collective and individual use. Special learning materials, sign language and blind-deaf interpreters’ services are provided free of charge.
The Federal City of Moscow regulates the provision of supportive devices, such as computer equipment, communications and software, for the realization of inclusive education and the use of distance learning technologies, when education is provided at home (2010 Law on Education of Persons with Disabilities in the City of Moscow, Art. 3.6). It further provides the opportunity to receive the supportive service of sign language interpreters and assistants (Art. 3.8). Free special textbooks, teaching aids and sign language interpreters for students with disabilities are also guaranteed in the education laws of Stavropol Krai (Art.13.3) and the Republic of Bashkortostan (Art. 7.5).
Qualification requirements to exercise the profession of teacher or to work in the education sector are regulated in Order 761/2010 of the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development, as amended by Order 448/2011. Requirements are based on the professional profiles of the practitioners and take into account the education specialization.
Funds are allocated from the federal and regional budgets to ensure continuous professional development of teachers working with children with disabilities. In the 2018/19 academic year, 118,334 special education personnel participated in training on the provision of psychological and pedagogical support for students with disabilities. Special education personnel include special education teachers, speech therapists, education psychologists and social care workers.
The education laws of the Republic of Bashkortostan (Art. 4.17), Novosibirsk Oblast (Art. 1.25) and Primorsky Krai (Art. 8.25) express a commitment to ensuring training on special pedagogical approaches and methods for teachers working with learners with disabilities.
Ethnic and linguistic groups and indigenous groups
In 2017, the Academy of Advanced Training and Professional Retraining of Educational Workers, a federal state autonomous institution of vocational education, developed a continuous education programme to improve the competencies of education personnel teaching Russian as a non-native language, including at preschool level. Recommendations on teaching Russian to learners whose mother tongue is different than the medium of instruction have been developed at the federal level and provided to municipal entities. Advanced training on teaching Russian as a non-native language has also been organized at the local level. For example, the Republic of Alania rolled out an education vocational programme on the teaching of Russian as a national language.
The content of teacher training programmes takes into consideration languages and literature of the local communities, for instance in the Northwestern, Siberian, Ural and Far Eastern federal districts, with the aim to promote and protect the linguistic diversity of the areas. A system of professional development for teachers speaking local languages has been established at the regional level with a focus on the indigenous culture.
Attention is also paid to training of nomadic teachers who follow indigenous groups and provide continuous education to nomadic children.
The Russian federation provides annual reports on education.
As established Decree 248/2012, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection compiles annual reports on the state of children with disabilities and their families. In the education, upbringing and development section, it reports figures on the number of children receiving education in inclusive education settings. Under the Ministry of Education, the Centre for the Protection of Children's Rights and Interests also monitors aspects related to the inclusion of certain groups, in particular children left behind and orphans.
Within the Accessible Environment state programme for 2011–20, specific indicators were envisioned to measure the inclusion of persons with disabilities and to monitor the accessibility of public facilities.