The rector of UNEC, professor Adalat Muradov, pointing out to the adoption of the
“State program for the Development of Inclusive Education for Persons with Disabilities in the Republic of Azerbaijan within 2018-2024 years”, noted that the document provided for equal access to education for all persons with disabilities at all levels of education, making it possible to create a barrier-free environment for their education, and all the factors contributing to the integration into the society through inclusive education all over the world were taken into consideration.
The rector, referring to the activities carried out in the field of inclusive education at UNEC, said that since 2015 the Center had been functioning for students with disabilities at the University. He noted that, the double diploma program for inclusive higher education in Azerbaijan for the first time was implemented between the UNEC and Moscow State University of Humanities and Economics. Pointing out that 26 students with disabilities have been trained at UNEC, A. Muradov underlined that all conditions were created for their active participation in the social life of the university. The rector stressed that, last year the UNEC was selected the one of the world’s “green” 619 universities in the international ratings, and he expressed confidence that UNEC would continue to be in the sample place with the best universities in the field of inclusive education. The chairman of the Labor and Social Policy Committee of the Parliament, Hadi Rajabli highly appreciated the activities of the UNEC Center for Disabled Students, saying in his speech “when speaking about inclusive education the secondary schools come to mind first, but UNEC has disrupted this stereotype for the first time in the field of higher education”.
Speaking about reforms implemented by the state in creating inclusive education model for people in need of special care coming from the State Strategy for the Development of Education in the country, Rajabli stressed that consistent work has been done in this area. Talking about the certain experience in this field in Azerbaijan today, the chairman of the committee said that the legal basis was created and the issue was fixed in the law.
Necdet Ozturk, the vice-president of the World Wide Fund for disable people (WWFD), said that 15 percent of the world’s population was physically impaired, and stressed the importance of protecting their right of education. Speaking about the features of inclusive education, N.Özturk recommended to take advantage of the experience of the world’s leading universities in this field and clarified the international standards. He expressed confidence that the UNEC model in inclusive education would be very successful.
The president of the Union of Disabled Persons of Azerbaijan David Rahimli assessing the higher education as one of the most important conditions in ensuring the employment of persons with disabilities said that, high responsibility for the employment of persons with disabilities was a major responsibility for the universities. He pointed out that, the projects on elimination of problems in inclusive education were being implemented, and the centers based on the international experience had been established in six higher education institutions of the country including UNEC.
The head of legal enlightenment sector of the Ombudsman office, the advisor of the Department of Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Mugalib Mahmudov noted that, 6 percent of the Azerbaijani population was disabled, and this was the lowest indicator in the CIS countries. Sharon Kegan and Tina Merk, the senior trainers of the UAE Zayed Social Security National Education Network, shared their experiences in the field of inclusive education. Sevinj Mahsimova, the coordinator of UNEC Center for Disabled Students, spoke about the center’s activities.
Within the framework of the conference, the cooperation agreement was signed between the UNEC and the Union of Disabled Persons of Azerbaijan. The document envisaged the development of the effective pedagogical procedures jointly with UNEC for the purpose of abilitation and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. At the same time, the organization of joint project, conference, seminar, training and other issues were reflected in the document.
The three-day conference will organize the trainings of the local and foreign specialists in all aspects of inclusive higher education. The conference is held with the joint organization of UNEC, World Wide Fund for disable persons, the Azerbaijani Disabled Organizations Union and the Independent Lifelong Learning and Support Center.