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Belgium condemned for its lack of inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities

On February 3, the European Committee of Social Rights condemned Belgium, and more particularly the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (FWB), at the end of a procedure lasting more than four years, for the lack of effort made regarding the educational inclusion of pupils with intellectual disabilities.

The European Committee of Social Rights has made public its decision about the collective complaint of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the organisation Inclusion Europe, lodged on 18 January 2017.

These organisations criticised the Belgian State for not sufficiently promoting the inclusion of children with intellectual disabilities (type 2) in mainstream primary and secondary schools dependent on FWB and, as a result, for violating the obligations of the Revised European Social Charter (Articles 15 and 17).

Associations and organisations representing the rights of persons with disabilities and the rights of the child request that the FWB be consulted in the drafting, implementation and evaluation of legislation affecting them. They call for the adoption of a transition plan towards an inclusive education system and more ambitious goals for the Pact for Excellence in Education.

They support the “unambiguous” inclusion of pupils with intellectual disabilities in the future decree on territorial poles, the development of reasonable accommodation pursuing a logic of inclusion, and in the reforms of initial teacher training and guidance mechanisms for special education.

Adapting to the student

The FWB is also called upon to provide different standards of supervision for ordinary schools developing a real inclusive policy, in particular by reducing class sizes. The organisations and associations also call for the creation of a “personalised education budget” for pupils and families and for the integration of school support by trained professionals (occupational therapists, speech therapists, orthopaedagogues, etc.).

Finally, they call on the FWB to strengthen the initial and in-service training of teachers and to create a short or evening course for training in remedial education.

More information

Download the press kit concerning the collective complaint