Inclusive education in Russia and the Baltic countries: a comparative analysis
In this study, we examine the current state and prospects of inclusive education for learners with special needs and disabilities in the countries of the Baltic region (Poland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, and Russia). We present a SWOT analysis of the development of inclusive education in different countries and analyse its strengths and weaknesses, risks, threats, and challenges from a political, economic, and technological perspective. In our analysis, we dissociate the issue of inclusive education from the problem of teaching learners with disabilities and examine the political, economic, social, and technological aspects of the environment that affect the educational situation of learners with disabilities. We consider inclusive education in the context of the documents of the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education — an active educational institution that facilitates the preparation and adaptation of all learners to life in complex multicultural and integrated societies through rights, freedom, tolerance, and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities. Our analysis of inclusive education trends relies on the assessment of the goals and objectives, accessibility, and socio-cultural and economic feasibility of inclusive educational systems. We stress political, socio-cultural, and technological differences in practices, dynamics, and prospects for inclusive education in the Baltic region countries and Russia.