There is no official definition of inclusive education in Cabo Verde.
The Law of Bases of the Educational System (LBSE of 2010) 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 educational establishments in favor of students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) (Article 48). It decrees that is the duty of the State to ensure that children with physical or mental deficiencies receive the necessary educational provisions as well as to define the general norms of inclusive education, especially with regard to technical and pedagogical aspects, and to support their compliance and application.
Special Education Needs (SEN)
The special educational needs derive from the 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 Law of Bases of the Educational System (LBSE of 2010) recognises the following modalities of education:
- Special education (including education for children with SEN 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 considered as a transversal teaching modality for all the subsystems and educational levels that is intended for students with special educational needs (SEN).
Since 1990, the integration of children with disabilities into regular classes was encouraged at a national level. The Law of Bases the Education System (LBSE of 1990) 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, programs 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 LBSE 2010 states that special education shall be taught preferably in regular educational establishments. The integration in regular classes of children and young people with special educational needs is promoted taking into account their specific needs. Support is provided to teachers, parents and other people involved in their education.
For gifted children (crianças sobredotadas), 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 Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde (2017-2022) special education modalities include:
- Special education for children and youth with physical or mental disabilities who will benefit from adequate educational attention
- Education for gifted children
- Recurrent teaching of adults
Even if the inclusion of children with special educational 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 SEN and the lack of a national policy on inclusive education results in children with SEN not always benefiting from an education adapted to their needs.
Despite the challenges, there are examples of good practices in inclusive education in the country. According to a study report of Handicap International published in 2012, the Pedro Gomes school, the Capelinha Primary School, the Jorge Barbosa Secondary School (San Vicente Island) and the Fogo Inclusive Education Center have successfully managed to include children with disabilities in their schools. This has been possible thanks to the support from Handicap International, the Federation of Associations of People with Disabilities of Cabo Verde (FECAD), the Secretariat for Disability (Ministry of Justice, Employment and Development of Human Resources) and the University of Cabo Verde.
According to the study, in addition to financial grants to the seven associations of people with disabilities, the government efforts to support Inclusive Education focuses on the creation and maintenance of six “Multifunctional Resource Rooms” (SRMF) 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 Santiago Norte region, at Mosteiros on the Island of Fogo and in Ribeira Grande of Santo Antão.
The Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde (2017-2022) defines the country's educational 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 the society. Education is considered an indispensable tool for eradicating poverty and fostering development. The Strategic Education Plan seeks to enhance national languages, promote a culture of gender equality and nonviolence, promote research and innovation using ICTs, and promote quality, transparency and efficiency of the education system. Special education is framed within the national and international movement for inclusive education.
The Law No. 122 of 2000 establishes the General Basis of Intervention, Rehabilitation and Integration of People with Disabilities. It outlined 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 62 of 2009 set the institutional framework for the issues of people with disabilities, and establishes 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 LBSE 2010 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 Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities was ratified in 2011 through the Resolution no. 148/VII/2011.
One of the priorities of the Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde (2017-2022) is the inclusion of children and young people with SEN in compulsory basic education. In order to achieve this, the Strategic Education Plan will aim to:
- Make a diagnosis of students with SEN in a digital platform
- Promote the inclusion of students in regular schools according to the international classification that prioritises children with SEN in three categories (dependent, those who can be integrated and those who have already been included)
- Promote the training of specialised teachers in SEN.
In other education levels, it is foreseen to develop programs to promote the inclusion of students with special educational needs.
According to the Voluntary National Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of Cabo Verde, despite the progress made in recent years many people with disabilities do not benefit from a formal education because the country lacks and adequate system for the mass attention of children and young people with SEN.
The study report “Good practices in inclusive education of children with disabilities in Cape Verde” published in 2012 by Handicap International, 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 Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde (2017-2022) seeks to promote a culture of gender equality and non-violence in educational spaces and implement strategies and institutional practices to reduce gender gaps in enrolment rates and in learning outcomes. To this end, different measures will be taken such as increasing training on the importance of gender education in secondary education.
The LBSE of 2010 established a set of actions in the social and school environment to compensate the poorest students. According to available data, in 2014-2015, 78,988 students received one meal per day, of which 81% were students of basic education and 19% of preschool education.
At the pre-school level, Cabo Verde seeks to promote access to universal school for all children aged 4-5 years. To achieve this goal support will be provided to the poorest families through monthly payments, the operation of pre-schools 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 in the maximum authority on education. It has the responsibility of 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 (NEIE). At the local level, there are Education Delegations in charge of the implementation and management of educational 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 (CNDC) 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 multi-stakeholder initiative which aims an effective implementation of the Convention on the rights of people with disabilities. They have 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 study report “Good practices in inclusive education of children with disabilities in Cape Verde”. The members of the Steering Committee included representatives from:
- Handicap international
- Cape Verdean Federation of People with Disabilities Associations
- Support Association, Development and Integration of 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 (UNICV)
According to the study report, the seven active Disabled People Organizations’ (DPOs) in the country have played an important role in advocating for the inclusion of students with disabilities in regular schools. They’ve 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 Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde (2017-2022) 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 it is foreseen the construction of 4 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 SEN, ramps in all school spaces are going to be built to facilitate the mobility of these students.
The Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde (2017-2022), within the framework of the project "Mandatory Basic Education: The foundations for life" (2017-2021) seeks to establish a frame of reference to guarantee the quality of learning with a new curriculum and new methodologies based on the reconfiguration plan of the education system.
Learning materials and ICTs
As part of the Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde (2017-2022), at the preschool level, special attention will be given to children with SEN, by providing them conditions for access and inclusion to kindergartens and promoting pedagogies adjusted to the needs of these children. Adequate teaching materials for the education of children with SEN will also be provided.
The Strategic Education Plan of Cabo Verde (2017-2022) seeks to (1) Strengthen teacher training and education programs at all levels and modalities of education (2) Increase pedagogical support for teachers and specific training (3) ) promote the conversion of teachers of compulsory schooling in tutors with focus on the student.
The Voluntary National Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of Cabo Verde 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 study report “Good practices in inclusive education of children with disabilities in Cape Verde” by Handicap International, 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.