There is no official definition of inclusive education in Cabo Verde.
The 2010 Law of Bases of the Educational System (LBSE) lays the foundations of special education and inclusive education in Cabo Verde. Special education is defined as the modality of education given preferably in regular education establishments in favour of students with special education needs (Article 48). The law decrees that it is the duty of the State to ensure that children with physical or mental deficiencies receive the necessary education provisions as well as to define the general norms of inclusive education, especially with regard to technical and pedagogical aspects, and to support compliance to and application of them.
Special education needs
Special education needs derive from physical, motor, intellectual and sensory deficiencies. The education of children with special needs is organized through the development of specific methods of care adapted to their characteristics.
The 2010 LBSE recognizes the following modalities of education:
- Special education (including education for children with special education needs and gifted children)
- Distance education
- Lifelong learning for adults
- Education for Cabo Verdean communities abroad
- Out-of-school education
- Basic adult education
Special education is viewes as a transversal teaching modality for all the subsystems and educational levels that is intended for students with special education needs.
Since 1990, the integration of children with disabilities into regular classes has been encouraged at a national level. The 1990 LBSE determined that the integration of children with disabilities should be promoted as long as it is advantageous for their education. To fulfil their integration, curricula, programmes and evaluations adapted to the needs of each student must be developed. Special education will be taught in specific institutions only when the degree of disability justifies it.
The 2010 LBSE states that special education shall be taught preferably in regular education establishments. It promotes the integration in regular classes of children and young people with special education needs while taking into account their specific needs. Support is provided to teachers, parents and others involved in their education.
For gifted children, Article 49 of the LSBE establishes that the State will guarantee special conditions for these children with a higher pace of learning, with the objective of allowing the natural development of their capacities.
According to the 2017–21 Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde, special education modalities include:
- Special education for children and youth with physical or mental disabilities who will benefit from adequate education attention
- Education for gifted children
- Recurrent teaching of adults
Even if the inclusion of children with special education needs in regular education establishments is promoted in Cabo Verde, the lack of consistent legislation on disability, the absence of a system for identifying and diagnosing students with special education needs and the lack of a national policy on inclusive education mean that children with special education needs do not always benefit from an education adapted to their needs.
Despite these challenges, there are examples of good practices in inclusive education in the country. According to a 2012 report by Humanity & Inclusion (then called Handicap International) titled Good Practices in Inclusive Education of Children with Disabilities in Cape Verde, the Pedro Gomes Secondary School, the Capelinha Primary School, the Jorge Barbosa Secondary School (San Vicente Island) and the Fogo Inclusive Education Center have successfully included children with disabilities. This has been possible thanks to the support of Humanity & Inclusion, the Federation of Associations of People with Disabilities of Cabo Verde, the Secretariat for Disability (Ministry of Justice, Employment and Development of Human Resources) and the University of Cabo Verde.
According to the study/report, in addition to financial grants for the seven disabled persons’ organizations in the country, government efforts to support inclusive education focus on the creation and maintenance of six multifunctional resource rooms located on the islands of Santiago (Praia and Santa Cruz), São Vicente, Santo Antão (Porto Novo), Fogo and Sal. The creation of three more rooms is planned in the Santiago Norte region, at Mosteiros on the island of Fogo and in Ribeira Grande of Santo Antão.
The 2017–21 Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde defines the country’s education priorities based on a long-term vision that promotes education as a human right and as an effective instrument for the affirmation and integration of the individual in society. Education is considered an indispensable tool for eradicating poverty and fostering development. The plan seeks to enhance national languages, promote a culture of gender equality and nonviolence, promote research and innovation using ICT and promote the quality, transparency and efficiency of the education system. Special education is framed within the national and international movement for inclusive education.
Law No. 122 of 2000 establishes the General Basis of Intervention, Rehabilitation and Integration of People with Disabilities. It outlines a clear and comprehensive national mandate towards the elimination of discrimination against persons with disabilities in order to ensure their integration into the economy and the society.
Resolution No. 23 of 2008 approved the National Disability Plan, while Decree Law No. 62 of 2009 set the institutional framework for the issues of people with disabilities and established the National Council for the Rights of People with Disabilities and adoption of a strategic plan for professional training to promote opportunities for access, attendance and professional training courses for people with disabilities
The 2010 LBSE sought to strengthen special education through a new methodological approach to teaching and learning for students with disabilities. With regard to gifted children, the State will seek to create special conditions for children with advanced learning and cognitive skills in order to allow a natural development of their mental abilities.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was ratified in 2011 through Resolution No. 148/VII/2011.
One of the priorities of the 2017–21 Strategic Education Plan is the inclusion of children and young people with special education needs in compulsory basic education. In order to achieve this, the plan will aim to:
- Establish a diagnosis of students with special education needs via a digital platform
- Promote the inclusion of students in regular schools according to the international classification that prioritizes children with special education needs in three categories (dependent, those who can be integrated and those who have already been included)
- Promote the training of teachers specialized in special education needs.
At other education levels, the plan envisions the development of programmes to promote the inclusion of students with special education needs.
According to the voluntary national report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, despite the progress made in recent years, many people with disabilities do not benefit from a formal education because the country lacks an adequate system for children and young people with special education needs.
In its 2012 report, Humanity & Inclusion provides key recommendations on how to include children with disabilities in regular and primary secondary education in Cabo Verde.
Article 24 of the Constitution of Cabo Verde promotes the principle of equality and the prohibition of discrimination grounded on race or sex.
The 2017–21 Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde seeks to promote a culture of gender equality and non-violence in education spaces and to implement strategies and institutional practices to reduce gender gaps in enrolment rates and learning outcomes. To this end, different measures will be taken, such as increasing training on the importance of gender education in secondary education.
The 2010 LBSE established a set of actions in the social and school environment to compensate the poorest students. According to available data, in 2014/15, 78,988 students received one meal per day, of which 81% were students of basic education and 19% of preschool education.
At the preschool level, Cabo Verde seeks to promote access to universal school for all children aged 4–5. To achieve this goal, support will be provided to the poorest families through monthly payments, the operation of preschools will be regulated and campaigns on the importance of education at an early age will be conducted across the country.
The Ministry of Education is the highest authority on education. It is responsible for the development and implementation of education policies and projects.
The National Directorate of Education, the main strategy and planning service within the Ministry of Education, has a Nucleus of Special Education and Inclusive Education. At the local level, there are education delegations in charge of the implementation and management of education policies in the 22 municipalities of the country. The delegates are in charge of the management of preschool, basic, secondary and extracurricular education.
The National Council on the Status of People with Disabilities was created in 1994. It is an organ for consultation that promotes, coordinates and monitors the implementation of the national policy on the habilitation, rehabilitation and integration of persons with disabilities.
Making It Work is an international multistakeholder initiative which aims for effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It has supported Cabo Verde in the promotion of good practices in inclusive education for children with disabilities. A steering committee was created for the preparation of the report Good Practices in Inclusive Education of Children with Disabilities in Cape Verde. The members included representatives from:
- Handicap International (now Humanity & Inclusion)
- Cape Verdean Federation of Associations of People with Disabilities
- Support Association, Development and Integration of the Child with Disability
- Association of the Visually Impaired of Cape Verde
- The Ministry of Education and Sports/General Directorate of Primary and Secondary Education
- University of Cape Verde
According to the report, the seven active disabled persons’ organizations in the country have played an important role in advocating for the inclusion of students with disabilities in regular schools. They have also played a complementary role to the Ministry of Education through the establishment of resource rooms, raising awareness at teacher training schools and in the community.
Infrastructure and services
The project Improvement and Renovation of Educational Infrastructures created within the framework of the 2017–21 Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde seeks to reconfigure and improve the physical facilities of the network of schools in Cabo Verde to provide a renewed environment that encourages learning. Among the proposed activities is the construction of four new schools with a capacity of 600 students each and the renovation of more than 100 schools. As part of the measures aimed at the inclusion of students with special education needs, ramps in all school spaces will be built to facilitate the mobility of these students.
The 2017–21 Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde, within the framework of the project Mandatory Basic Education: The Foundations for Life, seeks to establish a frame of reference to guarantee the quality of learning with a new curriculum and new methodologies based on the plan for reconfiguration of the education system.
Learning materials and ICT
As part of the 2017–21 Strategic Education Plan, at the preschool level, special attention will be given to children with special education needs by providing them conditions for access and inclusion in kindergartens and promoting pedagogies adjusted to their needs. Adequate teaching materials for the education of children with special education needs will also be provided.
The 2017–21 Strategic Education Plan seeks to strengthen teacher training and education programmes at all levels and modalities of education, increase pedagogical support for teachers and specific training, and promote the conversion of teachers of compulsory schooling into tutors with a focus on the student.
The voluntary national report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reports that several schools have low-qualified teachers. It is estimated that at the secondary level, 23% of teachers do not have a baccalaureate degree. This proportion varies from 11% to 75% in some schools, which has a strong impact on student learning.
According to the report Good Practices in Inclusive Education of Children with Disabilities in Cape Verde by Humanity & Inclusion, a master’s course in special education began in March 2007 soon after the creation of the University of Cabo Verde in 2006. However, there is no policy or programme related to preparing teachers or school employees for inclusive education.
Cabo Verde does not have a reporting and accountability mechanism and there is no evidence of the existence of national indicators to monitor inclusive education.