As part of the “Invite an Expert” EDSA program, the Down Syndrome Association in Kosovo asked for support for a 3-day seminar
Report by Cora Halder
Down Syndrome Kosova (DSK) had organized the seminars in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. The project was financially supported by the “Safe the Children” organization (rent location, simultaneous translation) and by EDSA (travel costs for lecturer; no fee for the lecturer). Having already been in Kosovo twice (2010, 2015), I was very pleased to be invited by the board of DSK again this year.
Situation in school classes
Teachers from three different cities, Gjakova, Gjilan and Pristina, needed a basic introduction or refresher on Down Syndrome. For some years now, children with DS have been attending mainstream schools, but teachers and support teachers see this as a big challenge because they hardly receive any training on DS. So the situation in the classes is far from ideal. he number of students per class is often 4o, plus two or three with a disability, some with DS. The teachers don’t get any support and are dependent on themselves. Assistants are rare or non-existent.
The seminars in Gjakova and Gjilan were attended by 25 to 30 teachers. I was impressed by their motivation to attend an all-day seminar on a day off. It was also a weekend and the beginning of their summer holidays. The selection of the participants was usually made by the school management.
The day started with a presentation of the results of the EDSA survey on school inclusion in 20 European countries (2017). Afterwards there was a basic introduction to the topic Down Syndrome, medical problems as well as learning and behavior aspects were addressed and outstanding examples and experiences with inclusive education were discussed. One point concerned the use of learning materials in the various school subjects. Particular attention was paid to mathematics and the Numicon material. Of course, there was also enough time to answer the participants’ questions.
The simultaneous translation worked out well. The same interpreter was available for all three days, which was a great advantage.
Certificate of Participation
The participants were very happy about the informative days and received a certificate at the end confirming their participation in the seminar.