Researching the Special Education Policy in Hungary

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The objective of the public action studied by the Hungarian health team was to reduce the number of students with special educational needs [SEN] and to fight the over representation of ethnic Roma and lower class in segregated educational settings (special schools and classes).

Various and even seemingly contradictory expert knowledges got integrated into a public action that pushed forward the desegregation of the Roma, the integration/mainstreaming of the socially disadvantaged (incl. but not limited to Roma), and the inclusion of all. The hitherto exclusive remedial medicalpsychological model has been replaced by sociological insights, progressive educational economy (“mainstreaming is worth”), pro-inclusion special education, as well as by neuropsychology limiting its own domain of competencies. The aim was to provide for a better diagnosis (assessment) and a better therapy (development) of SEN, pseudo-SEN, proto-SEN and ex-SEN students in order to reduce misdiagnosis, over representation, social and territorial inequalities. Knowledge dissemination (trainings for practitioners, methodological centres, new IQ-test) and prevention programs (early child development) were launched as well.

The Public Action included the "From the Last Desk Program" (FLDP), the supporting actions launched as part of the (EU-financed) operative programs of National Development Plan I and II, as well as the re-examination (control testing) of thousands (2004) and tens of thousands (2007) children diagnosed with special educational needs during the previous years.

It also included the invention of relatively new, post-bureaucratic forms of regulation through knowledge: (1) the use of scientific research as a regulation tool (showing evidence of trespass, misdiagnosis and segregation on the local level) and above all, (2) the dissemination of knowledge in various forms toward street-level bureaucrats.

ERÖSS Gábor & KENDE Anna (2009), All against misdiagnosis - Sociologists, neurologists, economists, psychologists and special educators for inclusion, KNOWandPOL report, 3-4.

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BAJOMI Ivan, BERÉNYI Eszter, ERÖSS Gabor, FERNEZELYI Bori, KOLTAI Julia, LEVENDEL Sara, NEUMANN Eszter & VIDA Julia (2010), Integration Report, Orientation 2 Public Action 1, KNOWandPOL Report.

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