On the margins: education for children with disabilities in Kazakhstan

Organisation(s): Human Rights Watch

Date: 2019

Pages: 72 p.


The Kazakh government has pledged to greatly expand access to inclusive education in mainstream schools for children with disabilities. Unfortunately, as it stands, a majority of children with disabilities in Kazakhstan are not getting a quality inclusive education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live. Inclusive education is when children with and without disabilities study together in schools in their communities. “On the Margins” details how the Kazakhstan government still tasks a body of doctors and education specialists, known as Psychological-Medical-Pedagogical Consultations (PMPK), to determine where children with disabilities can go to school. On the basis of PMPK conclusions, officials have denied children with disabilities access to schools in their communities. Most children with disabilities continue to be segregated in special schools or isolated at home with teachers visiting a few times a week. Where children with disabilities are enrolled in mainstream schools, Human Rights Watch found that they may be segregated into separate classrooms. Although the government has designated some mainstream schools as “inclusive schools,” where all children study in the same classrooms, children with disabilities may face other barriers, including inaccessible classrooms and toilets; a lack of trained and qualified staff; and a lack of aides to provide academic, behavioral, or self-care support. Human Rights Watch calls on the Kazakh government to guarantee inclusive education for children with disabilities, reform the law and practice to ensure that PMPK conclusions are not a prerequisite for children to enroll in mainstream schools, and to transform the PMPK system so that it takes in a wide range of views and assessments from teachers, parents, and others, as well as doctors, to determine the supports a child may need to study in a mainstream classroom, known as reasonable accommodations.

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