According to UNICEF estimates for 2006, around 6.5 percent of children in Bosnia and Herzegovina have some form of disability. However, out of the total number of elementary and primary school attendants, only one percent of children with disabilities are included, which means that only six children with disabilities get the opportunity to attend kindergarten or elementary school with their peers.
In the focus of this Commentary is the issue of inclusion of children with disabilities in educational institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the current system, education for children with disabilities occurs mainly through systematic segregation, which results in narrowing professional choices and, more importantly, social segregation and stigmatization of persons with disabilities. Within the Commentary, the emphasis is placed on the special role of parents in the process of changing the understanding of disabilities, but also the primacy of the child's interests, which, in the context of education, must also mean that persons with disabilities will have an inclusive education system at all levels, as well as a lifelong education. Finally, it is concluded that the full integration of people with disabilities requires change in the society in which we live and not of those that society prevents from living under equal conditions.
The publication is published within the project “Equality for All: Civil Society Coalition against Discrimination“, and is implemented in cooperation with Mediacentar Sarajevo, Analitika – Center for Social Research, Rights for All and Vaša prava BiH. This project is financed by USAID and Open Society Fund Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This publication is published by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.