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Making vocational education work for everyone

Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Centre

In 2020, 5.6% of students in vocational education had special educational needs. The project’s goal was to design a process to better help students with special needs through the entire school period to prevent dropouts.

We started our journey with Astangu process analyses, by developing a baseline of what inclusive and enabling vocational education should be like for HEV students. This was done both through a review of relevant documented processes as well as interviews with teachers, vocational experts, educational therapists, admissions staff followed by observations and interviews of students.

This was complimented with in-depth research and interviews of six vocational schools (Tartu Vocational College, Maarja Village study group of Räpina School of Horticulture, Tallinn School of Service, Tallinn Kopli Vocational School, Ida-Virumaa Vocational Education Center, Haapsalu Vocational Education and Training Centre) across Estonia as well as the Ministry of Education.

This was the first time that the situation of students with special needs was mapped in detail. There existed no unified information about the problems that students face, when and where problems surface and how the needs of students are addressed in vocational education, nor how that enables or prevents students from living up to their potential.

Over several co-creation sessions with Astangu and other vocational school employees, we developed the vocational rehabilitation service journey. It focuses on improving the process of enrolment and early detection in order to prevent problems arising during the course of studies, as often the interruption of studies is related to undetected special educational needs. The process is based on the best practices used in Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Center and vocational schools and is now being rolled out and adapted across vocational schools in Estonia.

The final reports (in Estonian) can be found here:

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