"Regional Support for Inclusive Education" is a regional project for South East Europe. It aims to enhance social inclusion and social cohesion in the region (in line with the Beneficiaries' commitments to European Union accession and Council of Europe standards) by promoting inclusive education and training in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and Kosovo* .

The project will promote the concept of inclusive education as a reform principle that respects and caters for diversity amongst all learners, with a specific focus on those who are at a higher risk of marginalisation and exclusion.

To increase the understanding of the benefits of inclusive education, the main activities will focus on 49 pilot schools (7 per beneficiary: 3 primary, 2 general secondary and 2 vocational secondary). The experiences gained from these pilot schools will provide policy makers with firm suggestions on how to scale up identified effective practices. This will enable them to cater for increased social diversity and more inclusive societies – for the benefit of all. The Project has a ‘bottom-up' approach that will help policy makers move from experience in the field to mainstream education reforms.

While focusing on pilot schools, the project will at the same time be conducted at a regional level, thereby accentuating the role of education and training in the promotion of social inclusion, tolerance, intercultural dialogue and non-discrimination in South East Europe as a whole.

A regional approach to inclusive education is well justified due to the similarity of the social, political and economic contexts and problems shared by the countries in South East Europe.  In particular, the education systems have similar structures and are undergoing similar reforms, all of them struggling to ensure equality of opportunity for  diverse groups of learners. These common factors, coupled with the shared needs, similar priorities and limited resources, suggest that regional cooperation, exchange of experience and learning can promote more efficient implementation of inclusive education at a national level, while offering significant economies of scale.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

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