3. Laws, policies and programmes
Secretariat of Education Resolution 1365 of 2014 on inclusive education for people with disabilities, special educational needs and special abilities, defines inclusive education as a "process that ensures education for all students, informed by a belief that diversity enriches education. Inclusive education promotes the integrated learning of all children and young people in a community, regardless of their personal, social or cultural background". It also "involves developing students' learning within the mainstream education process at various levels, and also extends beyond the classroom, supporting students with disabilities to fully participate in their communities and realize their full potential".
Special educational needs (SEN)
The same resolution defines SEN as "difficulties of varying severity faced by students in accessing and progressing in the national core curriculum for any reason, not necessarily due to disability".
Special abilities are defined as "overall ability that enables the learner to achieve above-average results on tests measuring intellectual ability and general knowledge, or exceptional performance in a specific area".
According to the Fundamental Education Act (2011), the national education system consists of:
- formal education
- non-formal education
- informal education.
The various education modalities include education for people with disabilities and education for indigenous and Afro-Honduran people. These modalities consist of organizational and curricular options from the national education system, informed by the principles of comprehensiveness, equality and inclusion of all groups and individuals (article 27).
Resolution 1365 of 2014 establishes that special education and care centres are official and non-governmental spaces and services that provide specialized education to students with disabilities, SEN or special abilities. They provide technical and pedagogical support to mainstream schools, via teachers and itinerant teams. Inclusion resource centres are official and non-governmental centres, spaces and services that provide specialized care to students with disabilities, SEN and special abilities. They include educational inclusion programmes consisting of itinerant teachers, support services and specialized care for people with multiple and severe disabilities who require extensive and continuous support. Article 29 stipulates that State-supported special education centres will be gradually transformed into inclusion resource centres.
Services for students with disabilities, SEN and special abilities provide specialized care according to the student's needs and disability, in preparation for entry into pre-primary education, primary education and secondary education. Likewise, early stimulation is provided in preschool and pre-primary education. After completing the preparatory stage, students are placed in mainstream official or non-governmental educational centres where they receive psychopedagogical support while they complete the compulsory educational grades or projects, with adapted methodologies, in either formal or non-formal education (article 13).
The Active Education Centre is the only inclusive school in Tegucigalpa. It is an inclusive bilingual education centre with a methodology focused on personalized approaches and active participation. The centre attends to children with SEN, learning disabilities and down syndrome, as well as several other conditions.
The 1982 Constitution of the Republic of Honduras stipulates that official education shall be free of charge and that primary education shall be compulsory and funded by the State (article 171). The State shall preserve and develop indigenous cultures (article 173) and support and promote the education of people with disabilities (article 169).
The Fundamental Education Act (2011) states that "the state of Honduras shall protect the right to education and ensure that all people can exercise this right, without discrimination, with the highest possible coverage and quality, reaching the country’s most remote and isolated populations". The act aims to ensure equal access for all people, without discrimination, to comprehensive and quality education. Honduran education is informed by the belief that education should be free of charge, high-quality and equitable, promoting inclusion, multiculturalism, interculturalism and plurality. The values of equity and inclusion involve "ensuring equal opportunities for access to education, without discrimination of any kind, and respecting SEN, as well as cultural, linguistic, social and individual diversity as fundamental elements of development".
The Act on Strengthening Public Education and Community Participation (2011) states that it is the duty of all citizens to contribute to improving the quality of education provided in the country's schools.
The Act on Assessment, Certification and Accreditation of Education Quality (2014) ensures quality education, regardless of geographic location or students’ socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic background. This act regulates the assessment, accreditation and certification of people with disabilities, SEN and special abilities.
The 2010–2038 National Vision and the 2010–2022 National Plan were developed with extensive input from various social sectors. The National Plan contains the strategic guidelines, objectives and indicators for addressing the challenges that Honduras faces. The plan’s education targets included increasing net education coverage at all levels, increasing the average enrolment rate and improving educational institutions’ infrastructure.
The Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018–2030 proposed policies for promoting educational inclusion for children and young people and strengthening the national education system. The plan promotes educational inclusion for vulnerable population groups such as SEN students, indigenous and Afro-Honduran populations and women. It also highlights the current challenges to achieving equality and emphasizes the need to expand educational opportunities in rural and low-income sectors.
Article 17 of the Act on Equity and Comprehensive Development for Persons with Disabilities (2005) states that the State, through the education systems, shall ensure access to education at all levels for people with disabilities, in both the public and private systems. People with SEN will receive their education in the mainstream education system, with the necessary support services. Students who cannot have their needs met in mainstream classrooms shall be educated in resource classrooms or specialized institutions, receiving the same education offered in mainstream schools.
The Fundamental Education Act (2011) states that education for people with disabilities or special abilities encompasses services, techniques, strategies and pedagogical resources for ensuring comprehensive and flexible education for people with special needs or abilities, promoting their academic and social integration (article 27).
Secretariat of Education Resolution 1365 of 2014 on inclusive education regulates educational inclusion and participation for people with disabilities, SEN and special abilities in the pre-primary, primary, middle and non-university higher education levels, as well as in alternative programmes and projects implemented in formal and non-formal education.
This resolution proposed the creation of a departmental psychopedagogical support team, responsible for:
- providing guidance and support to teachers for attending to students with disabilities, SEN and special abilities
- identifying students’ specific needs via diagnostic assessments
- training teachers to design curricular adaptations for meeting the educational needs of students with disabilities, SEN and special abilities.
Students who cannot have their needs met in mainstream classrooms shall continue their education in an educational environment more suitable for their specific needs, until completion of the compulsory grades of formal education, or the programmes or projects implemented by alternative means in formal and non-formal education (article 15).
Honduran Sign Language (LESHO), Braille and other alternative communication systems are recognized and promoted, with access to and teaching of these systems offered to students who require them.
The Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018–2030 promotes best practices in educational inclusion for SEN students via curricular adaptations, teaching strategies and the strengthening of school support.
The Public Policy for the Exercise of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their Social Inclusion in Honduras (2013–2021) seeks to equalize opportunities and eliminate the discrimination and architectural barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in social life. This policy adopts human rights, gender, multicultural and multi-ethnic approaches. It seeks to ensure access to education for people with disabilities, in inclusive educational spaces which respect the principle of equal opportunities and promote the access, retention and development of these children and young people.
The Act on Equal Opportunities for Women (2015) states that the State shall ensure comprehensive and equal training for women and men and incorporate a gender-equality perspective into education. It will also ensure that the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment prevails at all levels of the education system and provide education free from gender discrimination. Pregnant students shall have the right to maternity leave, without jeopardizing the continuity of their education.
One pillar in the Second Gender Equality and Equity Plan of Honduras (2010–2022) is the promotion, protection and guarantee of the right to education, as well as cultural and intercultural rights. The plan outlines Honduras’ greatest achievements and challenges in the field of education. It prioritizes the implementation of gender equality and equity policies and programmes, and the provision of the necessary resources to all institutions in the education system.
Ethnic and linguistic groups and the indigenous population
The Fundamental Education Act (2011) sought to recognize, respect and develop the country’s various ethnic and cultural identities, their linguistic diversity and their practices and customs. The act is informed by a belief that multiculturalism and interculturalism enrich the country, and promotes the integration of diverse forms of knowledge and the preservation of Honduras’ linguistic diversity.
Education for indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities "fully recognizes Honduras’ linguistic and cultural richness". It also contributes to preserving and strengthening the languages, beliefs and identities of indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples in Honduras. The State is responsible for regulating intercultural bilingual education.
According to the Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018–2030, between 2015 and 2017, there were significant gaps in enrolment rates among indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities compared with the national averages, particularly in secondary education. The plan proposed improving coverage and building new educational centres to promote access to education for these groups.
The National Programme of Education for Indigenous Ethnic and Afro-Antillean Groups in Honduras, implemented in 1993, aims to preserve, strengthen and develop the country's indigenous languages and cultures. Its theoretical guidelines informed the intercultural bilingual education approaches contained in the Country Vision Plan 2010–2038 and the National Plan 2010–2022.
Rural and remote areas
Ministry of Education Resolution 1361 of 2014 sets out the regulations for education centres. It classifies educational centres according to their location, using the following categories:
- urban in vulnerable areas
- rural in areas with communication facilities
- rural in isolated areas
- border regions.
Schools may operate in the morning, afternoon, evening or night, offering mixed and flexible timetables, depending on the level and type of education provided (article 15).
Education networks aim to improve the quality of education, with equity and inclusion in rural areas of the country, and to develop a learner-centred pedagogical model, incorporating active and participatory methodologies (article 58). People with SEN and gifted people will be integrated into the education network via the technical provisions approved by the Departmental Directorate of Education.
The Country Vision Plan 2010–2038 and the National Plan 2010–2022 sought to combat the negative effects of poverty and social marginalization on academic performance.
People deprived of liberty
The Fundamental Education Act (2011) states that prevention and social rehabilitation education shall be offered to people deprived of liberty, neglected people in the care of charitable institutions and children and young people at social risk.
The Ministry of Education implements national education policy and oversees education at the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels of the formal education system, ensuring access to educational services with quality, equality, transparency and participation for children, young people and adults. The National Education Council develops and monitors the national education policy.
The Departmental, Municipal and District Education Directorates are regulated by Resolution 1374 of 2014. The regulations promote decentralized management, a focus on results and process integration. The Departmental Directorates implement the regulations designed at the central level, and are responsible for planning, organizing, executing, monitoring and evaluating human, material and financial resources within their jurisdiction. Their work includes capacity-building towards decentralization, to ensure equity and quality in education. The District and Municipal Education Directorates are technical pedagogical advisory units whose objective is to facilitate the achievement of educational goals and quality learning in schools which are under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Directorate.
According to Resolution 1365 of 2014 on inclusive education for people with disabilities, SEN and special abilities, the care provided by and organization of educational centres will be authorized and evaluated by the Secretariat of Education within the Ministry of Education, via the relevant unit, with supervision from the Departmental Directorate of Education, via the Supervision Unit and the Departmental Subdirectorate of Educational Modalities.
On the other hand, the General Under-secretariat of Education for People with Disabilities or Special Abilities, which reports to the General Directorate of Educational Modalities, "ensures access, retention, success [of] and graduation with equal opportunities for students with disabilities, SEN and special abilities in the various levels and modalities of the National Education System, via the Attention to Diversity Policy and with a focus on inclusive education, from early-childhood education to non-university higher education". The General Under-secretariat of Education for People with Disabilities or Special Abilities also advocates for the development of inclusive schools that create opportunities for all students and remove barriers to learning for students with disabilities, SEN and special abilities.
The National Women's Institute (INAM) is responsible for formulating, promoting and coordinating the implementation and monitoring of the National Women's Policy, as well as the action plans for its implementation.
Ethnic and linguistic groups and the indigenous population
The Subdirectorate of Education for Indigenous and Afro-Honduran People seeks to ensure the full implementation of intercultural bilingual education in all indigenous and Afro-Honduran educational communities by designing multi- and intercultural policies.
Secretariat of Education Resolution 1378 of 2014 establishes regulations for initial teacher training. Although the resolution does not explicitly promote training teachers in inclusive education, it states that continuous teacher training will seek to train teachers to respond to various kinds of educational needs, such as those arising from intercultural education, vocational education and the care of people with disabilities or special abilities (article 5). Continuous teacher training is the responsibility of the State, and will be carried out by the Secretary of State[SA1] [SA2] within the Ministry of Education via its specialized agencies and by other governmental and non-governmental institutions (article 6).
The resolution also states that teachers should be trained to assist students with special abilities in the classroom, promoting their inclusion within mainstream groups of students.
The General Under-secretariat of Education for People with Disabilities or Special Abilities is responsible for identifying the training needs of the staff responsible for implementing the curriculum in this modality, and coordinating with the General Directorate for Professional Development to develop training programmes.
The Second Gender Equality and Equity Plan of Honduras (2010–2022) promoted the inclusion of approaches based on gender, human rights and prevention of violence against women and girls in awareness-raising and teacher training programmes, to build knowledge for managing rights violations.
Among the achievements and progress made by intercultural bilingual education since 1990, it is worth highlighting the creation of professionalization programmes for indigenous and Afro-Honduran teachers under Ministerial Resolution 1025–SE–2001, and the appointment in 2014 of 308 new indigenous and Afro-Honduran teachers in intercultural bilingual education centres with their respective posts and budgetary structures, to facilitate the implementation of the intercultural bilingual education methodology in the classroom.
The General Under-secretariat of Education for People with Disabilities or Special Abilities has a planning, monitoring and evaluation division that monitors the quality of the educational service provided to students with disabilities, SEN and special abilities at the different levels and modalities of the education system.