President Ilham Aliyev signed a Decree on the payment of tuition fees for disabled people of groups I and II and children with disabilities under 18 years of age.
The Decree reads that tuition fees for I and II group disabled persons and children with disabilities under the age of 18 who are studying on a paid basis at the bachelor's and master's degrees (basic (basic higher) medical education and residency) at the higher education institutions of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the master's degree at the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences and in secondary special education institutions will be paid from the state budget from 2019 / 2020 academic year.
It should be noted that about 2,500 disabled persons are currently studying at higher education institutions on a paid basis at bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as secondary special education institutions.
We have tried to find out how the Decree will affect the integration of children with physical disabilities into education and social life, and what advantages they will bring in the next stage.
Maser Hasanov is one of our young people with disabilities. Although he will not be able to benefit from this decree as he has already graduated, he noted that during the period of his studies, the university helped him greatly. "I have graduated from the Azerbaijan State University of Art. At that time, the university helped me to pay my tuition fee. However, as many disabled persons did not get any help, they were left out of education. This decree eliminated a large portion of the barriers to education. I and II group disabled persons will no longer save the pensions they receive to pay for their education and will spend it for other needs. In my opinion, this decree will be a great help to the families of our disabled young people," Hasanov noted.
According to chairman of the Citizens' Labor Rights Protection League, Sahib Mammadov, this is a very revolutionary decree. "There are many talented people who can not get education because of the issue of payment. Under this decree, the state will pay the tuition fee of I and II group disabled persons and children with disabilities under the age of 18. I think that is a very revolutionary decree. There are about 2,500 disabled people at present. Next year, this number will increase as the problem of those who could not get education because of the problem of payment has been eliminated. At the next stage, schools, universities and other educational institutions should be accessible to disabled persons. Educational institutions should ensure accessibility for those persons. That is, the problem of payment has been solved, but conditions should be created for them to come to universities like other people. We need to ensure inclusiveness. In my opinion, the Ministry of Education in parallel will do the same. It should be noted that Europe has long been undergoing active support from passive support. In other words, the government provides these people with education and jobs. So they can become tax payers in the future," he said.
Employee of the "Duygu” ("Feeling”) social rehabilitation public union, social worker Elmir Valehli, said that this decree would have a positive effect on the integration of disabled persons into the community. "There are many people with disabilities who can not get education because they can not afford enough money. It is very difficult for them to get education on paid basis as they have to pay for their treatment and other needs. However, at the moment, it is highly appreciated that education will be accessible to them. We will see the disabled persons more on public catering facilities, parks, roads. The state has an inclusive education program on this issue. The ultimate goal of this inclusive education program is that disabled persons are educated along with typical individuals. Decrees issued by the President in social sphere in recent years have shown that special attention is really paid to this area. I think these decrees will be fruitful in the next 2-3 years," noted Valehli.
Davud Rahimov, chairman of the Union of Disabled People Organizations, noted that a number of work is being carried out to improve the living conditions of disabled people. "Increasing social benefits to disabled persons by the President's decree at the beginning of the year and signing such a decree recently are of great importance. Both of these decrees play a major role in integrating persons with disabilities into society, inclusive education. On the other hand, this decree will allow disabled persons to enter the labor market in the future. They will be able to work on the specialty they are studying. And this will eliminate their dependency on the social benefits they receive from the state," the chairman added.