Digital Environments to Enable High-Quality Education for Disadvantaged and Disabled Learners in Bulgaria
Authors: Vladislava Lendzhova, Boris Manov, Valentina Milenkova, Dilyana Keranova
Abstract: Digital transformation is one of the European Commission's policy priorities in the last few years. High quality and inclusive education and training are a key part of reaching this object and ensuring that all people are prepared to live and be educated in the digital age. These priorities coincide with the crucial need to provide inclusive digital learning environments to all learners including those with special educational needs – disadvantaged and disabled learners. The paper presents a primary analysis of the results of a sociological qualitative survey conducted in the framework of the project “Inclusive digital environments to enable high-quality education and training for disadvantaged learners”. Methodology: The main method used was an in-depth interview. Thirty in-depth interviews were conducted among School Leaders and Teaching Staff in High Schools and Universities, Primary and Secondary Education Organizations in Bulgaria. The data was collected from October 2021 to January 2022. This study was provoked by inequalities in inclusive education and therefore by variations in the way of remote learning that has been delivered across EU Member States and Bulgaria, in particular. The aim of the study was provoked not only by the exceptional significance and reflection of digital education on basic human needs. It seeks to provide insights into the national special education traditions in the country and aims to establish how these have influenced current developments in inclusive education together with digital environments for disadvantaged and disabled learners. The main conclusion approached by the study is that there is a major need to raise awareness about unequal access to inclusive education for students with disabilities in Bulgarian society, as well as a need of providing а detailed information on how to implement more inclusive educational practices and at sharing promising examples of inclusive methods in education for learners with special educational needs. Keywords: Digital Education, Digital Environments, Special education needs, Disadvantaged and Disabled Learners Acknowledgments: The article has been developed in the framework of the European Funded Project ERASMUS+ EACEA/34/2019 - Social Inclusion and Common Values - Action: the contribution in the field of education and training, entitled: ‘INCLUDEME - Inclusive digital environments to enable high-quality education and training for disadvantaged learners’. The project is co-funded by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ programme.
Keywords: Digital Education, Digital Environments, Special education needs, Disadvantaged and Disabled Learners
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