Gala event promotes inclusive education in Moldova
“The inclusive Education Gala is dedicated to the daredevils of yesterday and today, people who have courage, who inspire us with what they do in the field of education and show us that it is possible for all children to learn,” says Daniela Mamaliga, president of the Alliance of Active NGOs in the field of Child and Family Social Protection (APSCF).
View the full transmission from this year Gala on YouTube.
The “Gala for Inclusive Education” is organized by Education Out Loud partner APSCF and has proven to be an important opportunity to raise awareness about the major challenges with inclusion in the Moldovan education system – challenges that threaten to deprive marginalized children and children with special needs of their right to education.
“The Alexandra Grajdian contest comes to highlight the effort of everyone in the development of inclusive education in the Republic of Moldova. The Ministry of Education and Research will continue to support this beautiful initiative of the APSCF and will encourage education settings to participate in the competition,” says Mr. Valentin Crudu, Head of the General Education Directorate at the Ministry of Education and Research.
Celebrating courage and innovation
This is a great occasion to raise awareness of both challenges and opportunities as the winner and the awardees are given the chance to take the stage. While on stage they can present their work, showcasing visuals or text of their important work. Those attending the Gala in person are not the only ones who are participating - the Gala has a large online following via the live transmission from social media.
The selection process for the trophy usually lasts for a month, during which an evaluation committee analyzes the nominations based on criteria such as: courage and innovation in promoting inclusive education, accessibility of the institution from all perspectives, leadership in the implementation of inclusive education, advocacy, cooperation, and partnerships among others.
This year, the trophy was awarded to the Inclusive early education institution "Guguta."
(Also see the announcement in the local media)
For ten years, this kindergarten has promoted the inclusion and individualized care and development of children; ultimately becoming a role model for other institutions. “It was not easy in the beginning, but we didn’t back down, and we never thought we cannot do it. The caring attitude towards each child is a value that makes us remarkable and represents us as an institution,” said the kindergarten’s Director, Emilia Cucuruzac.
Below a brief visual presentation of the work of Guguta.
A way to inspire politicians and practitioners
According to Irina Popușoi, Secretary General of APSCF the political and financial support for inclusion in education in Moldova is insufficient. The Gala is a key tool of the advocacy work aiming at influencing politicians and officials to prioritize inclusive education. Additionally, the gala serves to to inspire practitioners to be creative and innovative within the present framework.
“By giving prizes and publicly recognizing the great work, achievements and merits of people and institutions that made considerable efforts in inclusive education despite all the challenges and pitfalls they encountered, we encourage other institutions to get more involved and perseverant in attaining similar results,” says Irina Popusoi.
Irina feels this gala is the perfect medium to show that it is important, and possible, to act on inclusiveness; that schools should not wait to act only upon directions from government, but be inspired by the many empowering examples implemented by their colleagues in other regions.
Aurica Bodiu, director of the Ștefănești High School, and former bearer of the award, has been one of those role models in promoting inclusive education “There was a cry from parents, not to take children away from home. We listened, and we offered our support to parents and children. In our school, all Children have equal rights, and byjoining our forces with the teaching staff, parents, and students we ensure the well-being of children in our classes,” she says.
Another participant, Tatiana Cociu, director of the Inclusive Kindergarten “Povestea” in the city of Nisporeni, stresses the inspiration that comes out of the event and the opportunity to share experience and ideas with other practitioners.
“Many ideas in our activity came from the Gala and not least Mrs. Alexandra Grajdian herself, with whom we had the honour to work. She remains a role model for us.”
This year was the Gala’s seventh annual event. Each year, APSCF has seen the interest from authorities and media increase as well as the number of education practitioners striving to be nominated for the award.
- The Alliance of NGOs Active in the field of Child and Family Social Protection (APSCF) was from the beginning in 2002 a coalition of the civil society representatives’, eager to become a unique and strong voice of children and their families, to promote their fundamental rights as stated in the UN Child Rights Convention.
- The coalition has over 60 members, which are local, national organizations and branches of international NGOs present throughout the country.
- APSCF is working to create a coherent and functional framework and to develop actors, mechanisms and implementation practices that ensure real respect and protection of the child and family.
- The network has three main priorities and one of them is education, namely the access to quality education in an inclusive and safe school environment for all children.
- APSCF is one of the most active NGO networks in the Moldovan landscape, as it is a constant partner of Government in the social and education fields, having supported the social services, the residential care and the Education systems reforms.
- Among the latest achievements of the Alliance was the approval on June 1st of the National Program for Child Protection developed with APSCF support. The document sets the objectives and priority actions for the next five years, which aim to strengthen the social protection system of the child in the Republic of Moldova, to respond promptly and effectively to the needs of the children.