Date and time fixed for human-rights debate
0900, Wednesday 13 April 2016
From Luxemburg Schrëtt fir Schrëtt has announced (my translation) –
Thanks to the more than 13,000 who signed [our Petition], to those who have supported us, and to those who have ensured that our cause is heard.
Join us in crossing your fingers that with the Ministry we shall finally come to a sound legal base for Conductive Education groups.
That children with special needs should finally have a choice of school system; that integration and inclusion should not be adapted; that they might opt for an alternative school allowing them to learn at their own pace and according to their needs. Everything that they need to overcome the constraints of their disability, to evolve in all aspects of human learning in order to become as independent and self-determined as possible, all the better to integrate into society, in order to live a life that is as normal as can be.
The same right for everyone.
In the words of the United Nations Convention, ratified by Luxembourg in 2011 –
In all decisions concerning children with disabilities, the children's best interest must be a primary consideration. (article 7 / item 2)
And herein lies their quality of life for the rest of their days.
What's this all about?
This dispute is not ultimately about Conductive Education.
This dispute has arisen around Schrëtt fir Schrëtt's fight for the continuation of its long-established Conductive Education groups. But the fundamental matter in dispute goes much deeper, the question whether all competent parents in a modern, liberal democratic state have a right to decide and chose the best way to educate and bring up their children, or whether this right is overridden by other considerations where children are disabled.
The forthcoming debate in Luxembourg's Chambre of Deputies may be drawn into all sorts of specifics about, say, conductive and multidisciplinary services. These are nuts and bolts, important but not cardinal. The fundamental issues concern values and philosophies, they are political and financial, moral and ethical, of a quite different order.
It is some considerable time now since Conductive Education was last debated in a national legislature – not least within an educational context. The specific grounds for this debate are of course of pressing practical concern for those directly affected within the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. How this debate swings, however, may prove of interest, importance even, to those outside the immediate borders of this small European country.
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