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Bridging the Gap celebrates an International Forum on Experiences of Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Education

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Around 50 people attended the “Foro Internacional de Experiencias sobre la Inclusión Educativa de Personas con Discapacidad” (International Forum on Experiences of Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Education”), organized by Bridging the Gap and held on 7 June in Quito, Ecuador.

The Forum – inaugurated by Andrea Ferrari-Bravo, head of cooperation at the EU Delegation in Ecuador, Rafael García, coordinator of AECID Ecuador, Tatiana Rosero, Technical Secretary of CONADIS Ecuador, and Federico Martire, director of Bridging the Gap – stimulated a vivid debate on the current state of the art of inclusive education in Latin America, with the aim of presenting good practices worth replicating in Ecuador or elsewhere.

During her keynote speech, Ana Lucía Arellano, chair of the International Disability Alliance, reminded the importance of a “holistic approach to inclusion which comprises efforts before, during and after the person is in the education system”. Her intervention paved the way for the presentations of the invited experts, divided in two panels dealing respectively with good practices from the American continent and the role of the civil society and the international cooperation.

Good practices from Canada’s New Brunswick, arguably the most inclusive system in the world, Colombia, Uruguay and, of course, Ecuador, were presented during the first panel, also with the help of UNICEF which introduced significant actions elsewhere in the region. The second panel shared instead ideas, tools and proposals from three international cooperation actors and two representatives of the civil society, stimulating a discussion on the need of reliable data and indicators for policy planning.

The Forum concluded with a networking session moderated by BtG’s Knowledge Management Coordinator, Alessia Rogai, pivoting around three questions asked to the participants to stimulate their capacity to analyze and contribute to such a complex yet fundamental matter.

The Forum has thus provided interesting insights for the work of Bridging the Gap in Ecuador, which aims to improve the national system of inclusive education.