We should teach our children skills for independent living and value their dignity’, Arman Tatoyan made an unannounced visit

The Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan made an unannounced visit to the Yerevan Special School N14 for Children with Visual Impairments. He examined the school conditions, had private interviews with children and became acquainted with children’s daily life.

“Our goal is to guarantee the rights of children who study at this school, to eliminate stereotypes and to make efforts in helping them to become a full member of the society through revealing their abilities. We should teach the children independent living skills, believe in their potential and eliminate their isolation”, said the Human Rights Defender.

Like in other special schools, here as well many issues are being solved by the conscientiousness of employees at the personal level, but there is a lack of a coordinated state policy that would establish a strong protection mechanism for children’s rights.

It is noteworthy that the institution has taken some steps to solve issues recoded during the previous monitoring visits of the Human Rights Defender’s Office (medical records are currently being maintained, some renovations were carried out, etc.).

The monitoring visits to school revealed some systemic issues that are typical for almost all institutions of this character. For example, almost all institutions have serious problems in organizing health care services. There is a lack of training programs for medical staff and insufficient social guarantees for them. There is no unified practice of preventing possible violence and injuries towards children, of filling out the records thereof, as well as of cooperating with other institutions (e.g. hospital or polyclinic).

All these institutions should pay more attention to ensuring the private life of children.

Lack of textbooks in Braille is an urgent problem to be solved at the Yerevan Special School N1: the amount of special textbooks is extremely insufficient. Children and teaching staff use textbooks for secondary schools which are not adapted to the needs of children with visual impairments. There should be training courses for teachers aimed at improving special skills for treating the children studying there.

The Human Rights Defender will, within his competence, support the solution of the recorded issues, through joint work with all competent authorities as well.

As a reminder, the Defender conducts monitoring of the implementation of the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted on 20 November 1989, as well as carries out prevention of violations of the rights of the child and the protection thereof.