According to the Federal Law № 273/2012 “On Education in the Russian Federation” (the Law on Education) inclusive education implies ensuring equal access to education to all students, taking into account the diversity of their special educational needs and individual capabilities (Art.2.27). The Primorsk Territory (krai) endorses the definition of the federal law in the 243/2013 Law “On Education in the Primorsky Territory”,(art.2.8).
The Federal City of Moscow, in its 16/2010 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
Defining students with disabilities, the 273/2012 Law on Education 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, which prevent him/her from acquiring education without the creation of special conditions (art.2).
According to the 2012 Law on Education, education of learners with disabilities can be provided 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 Psychological Medical and Pedagogical Commission’s (PMPC) assessment.
Integration and inclusion serve as alternative complementary form of education provision to separate settings within the education system. 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 learners’ 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 (V type);
- learners with physical disabilities (VI type);
- learners with cognitive development disorders (VII type);
- learners with intellectual disabilities (VIII type).
Yet, specialized personnel who is trained to assist children with disabilities is only deployed in separate education institutions. In this context, resource centers have bene established to provide remedial services to children integrated in regular schools, Resource centers also train regular schoolteachers who work with learners with special education needs.
So far, fours federal resource centers have been set up to assist children with autism spectrum disorders, children with cognitive development disorders, severe multiple developmental disorders, children with visual impairments, and with physical disabilities, respectively. (636/07/2019 Official letter of the Deputy Minister of Education of the Russian Federation).
Serving all levels of education, Resource Training Centers for people with disabilities (REMCs) provide support to Basic Vocational Educational Institutions (BVEIs). As of 2018, within the State Programme Accessible Environment 2011-2020, 28 REMCs and 97 BVEIs were set up throughout the country, of which 3 in Moscow. The plan is to establish BVEI in all federal entities by 2020.
At the city level, the 2013 Law “On Education in Saint Petersburg”, as amended in 2019, establishes that education for children with disabilities can be provided in inclusive education settings, in separate classes and groups, and home-based (art.10). Conversely, the City of Moscow permits education provision in separate classes and/or groups as form of compensatory training or in special/correctional classes only in case students with disabilities are not able to receive education in inclusive settings (16/2010 Law “On Education of Persons with Disabilities in the City of Moscow”, art.5.2).
In most entities, education for persons with disabilities is imparted in separate settings. In line with the federal law, education for student with disabilities is provided in integrated settings, in separate classes and/or groups or on individual bases in the Sverdlovsk Region (oblast’) (78/2013 Law “On Education in the Sverdlovsk Region”). In the Rostov Region (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 the Rostov Region” , 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 also entitled to study in boarding schools if they cannot reach schools because of adverse weather conditions or distance (art.5.2). In the Stavropol Territory (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 (72/2013 Law “On Education” of the Stavropol Territory, as amended in 2019, art.18).
Despite the adoption of an inclusive education approach, the Primorsk Territory (krai) also provides separate education for the deaf, the blind, learners with visual impairments, with severe speech difficulties, with behavioral disorders, with cognitive development disorders, with autistic disorders spectrum and with physical disabilities (243/2013 Law “On Education in the Primorsk Territory”, art.8.23).
Ethnic and linguistic groups and indigenous groups
Education provision for indigenous peoples takes into account their nomadic lifestyle. In the 2016–2017 school year, 9 kindergartens, 1 kindergarten-elementary school, and 3 general special schools provided education in nomadic places in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District.
Early identification, screening and assessment
The Psychological Medical and Pedagogical Commission’s (PMPC) is responsible for carrying out psychological, medical and pedagogical assessment and for identifying physical and/or mental development problems. Based on the examination, PMPC provides recommendations about the type of psychological, medical and pedagogical assistance and the most adequate education and training (1082/2013 Order).
Defined in the 1839/2016 Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation, the Concept of Early Intervention Development until 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 a 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 the access to and free pre-school, 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 any forms of 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).
With the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities in 2012, the 419/2014 Federal Law 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 regulating education for learners with disabilities and for learners with cognitive development disorders (1599/2014 Order) at pre-school (1155/2013 Order), primary general (373/2009 and 1598/2014 Order), basic general education (1897/2010 Order) and secondary general education (413/2012 Order) levels were developed. Reaffirming their rights to benefit from equal opportunities and from quality education, the Standards aim to maximize their access and retention in education in line with their capabilities and needs. To meet this objective, flexible education programmes have been introduced, adapting general education curriculum to the learners’ characteristics. Based on the PMPC 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 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, and pre-primary education programmes, special kindergartens. Annually, the Ministry of Education promotes All-Russia Competition “Best Inclusive School” among education institutions of all country to identify and promote the best educational practices for the inclusion of students with disabilities.
The city of Moscow is committed to creating the conditions for the provision of inclusive education of persons with disabilities in public educational institutions (16/2010 Law “On Education of Persons with Disabilities in the City of Moscow”, 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, the class ratio between students with and without disabilities (art.23).
The 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation, 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 neither at the federal nor at the regional levels.
Ethnic and linguistic groups
According to the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation, everyone has the right to use the native language and to free 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 82/1999 Federal 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 the 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 thousand people.
Within the Concept for the Sustainable Development of Indigenous Minorities of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation, the 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 District (okrug) regulates the condition 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 others, supporting publications and research in the languages, and by developing an education system aimed at improving the language and culture of the local communities (30/1999 Law “On the Languages of the Peoples of the Republic of Kalmykia”). 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 District is regulated at the constitutional level. The Basic Law of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District (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 until 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 (2168/2010 Order), similarly to the Federal City of Saint Petersburg (32-13/2009 Law on Additional Social Support Measures), the Krasnoyarsk Region (oblast’), and Chelyabinsk Region (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 the Sverdlovsk Region (oblast’) (Law on Education, art.22.1) in the Novosibirsk Region (oblast’) (Law on Education, art. 9.10) and in the Stavropol Territory (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, regional public authorities, local authorities, non-governmental associations, scientific and other institutions and organizations concerning issues related to disability.
In 2015, a working group was set up at the Ministry of Labor 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, respectively. A separate federal executive body is responsible for monitoring. Federal and local authorities are coordinated in the exercise of their mandates.
The 1309/2015 Order 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 thousand municipal roadmaps for the gradual development of barrier free environment have been implemented to increase accessibility of public infrastructure, in line with the measures of the State Programme of the Russian Federation “Accessible Environment” 2011–2020, approved by the 363/2019 Decree.
Concerning education, the Modern School Federal Project aims, among others, to renovate education infrastructure. Education institutions have been also prioritized in the federal budget allocation.
Curriculum and learning materials
Students with disabilities are entitled to receive education through the development of adapted education programme, and with the support of special textbooks, special 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 (16/2010 Law “On Education of Persons with Disabilities in the City of Moscow”, art. 3.6). It further provides opportunity to receive the supportive service of sign language interpreters and assistants (art.3.8). Free special textbooks, teaching aids, and sign language interpreters to students with disabilities are also guaranteed by the Stavropol Territory (72/2013 Law “On Education” of the Stavropol Territory, as amended in 2019, art.13.3), and the Republic of Bashkortostan (696/2013 Law “On Education in the Republic of Bashkortostan”, art. 7.5).
Qualification requirements for the exercise of the profession of teacher or for working in the education sector are regulated in the 761/2010 Order of the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development "On approval of a single qualification reference book, as amended by the 448/2011 Order. 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 Republic of Bashkortostan (696/2013 Law “On Education in the Republic of Bashkortostan”, art.4.17), the Novosibirsk Region (361/2013 Law on Education, art.1.25), and the Primorsk Territory (243/2013 Law on Education, art. 8.25) are committed to ensuring training on special pedagogical approaches and methods to teachers working with learners with disabilities.
Ethnic and linguistic groups and Indigenous groups
In 2017, the Federal State Autonomous Institution of Further Vocational Education “Academy of Advanced Training and Professional Retraining of Educational Workers” developed the continuous education programme to improve the competences of education personnel teaching Russian as a non-native language, including at pre-school education level. Recommendations on teaching Russian to learners whose mother tongue is different than the medium of instruction has been developed at the federal level and provided to municipal entities. Advanced training on teaching Russian as non-native language has been also organized at the local level. For example, the Republic of Alania rolled out the 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 North-Western, 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 have 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 by the 248/2012 Decree, the Ministry of Labor 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 figure on the number of children receiving education in inclusive education settings. Under the Ministry of Education, the Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution "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 State Programme of the Russian Federation “Accessible Environment” for 2011-2020, specific indicators intend to measure the inclusion of persons with disabilities and to monitor the accessibility of public facilities.