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Since 2013, we have walked alongside each other to support learners with special needs and advocate for their right to equal educational opportunities. Through workshops and seminars, legal reform, awareness campaigns, and technical intervention, we have made progress on the social and educational level, however, our journey continues until all children and youth with special needs are included in the society. This year, on the 8th National Day for Students with Learning Differences, it is inevitable to highlight the aspect of distance learning for those children as they are homebound with limited resources.
Under the patronage of the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Tarek Majzoub and Ambassador of Britain to Lebanon Chris Rampling MBE, SKILD Center in collaboration with the British Council held an e-conference on “Inclusion in times of distancing” on April 22 which provided a platform for interventions from educators, practitioners, and professors from Lebanon, the U.S.A, Canada and the U.K, in addition to testimonies from parents sharing insights and shared experiences with over 900 participants from 17 different countries.
In an event that joined private schools, public schools, and higher education institutions, H.E. Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr Tarek Majzoub mentioned that the ministry aims to ensure the transformation of all public schools in Lebanon to inclusive schools by 2030. He also promised that as an active member of this administration, he is making it his priority to see legislative reforms take place that will protect the right of every child to an inclusive and quality education. Also, in attendance was the British Ambassador to Lebanon, who highlighted the importance of inclusive education and the British Government’s continued support to see more inclusive schools by expressing that “education is the future of all children as it provides them with a ladder to reach all opportunities regardless of their gifts”. 
Dr Nabil Costa, Founder of the SKILD Centre and lead organizer of the National Day opened up the two and hour virtual conference reassuring parents and special educators alike “that despite the temporary seclusion today, this platform is meant to access every home and school to provide an equitable access to information offered by all contributors today.” Mr. David Knox, Lebanon country Director of the British Council, said “inclusive education is an education that values differences and provides opportunities for every learner. Children with special educational needs should receive the same level of protection and support amid COVID-19.” Other interventions included Mrs Bahiya Hariri, Head of Lebanese Parliament Education Committee, Mr Melhem Khalaf, President of Beirut Bar Association, Mr. Fadi Yarak, General Director of Education at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) and Dr Nada Oweijan, President of Centre for Educational Research and Development (CERD). 
Educators and experts detailed and explained how they are supporting children with special educational needs and their parents during this difficult time. With the British Council and all our partners, we renew our commitment to serve children with learning differences and advocate for their rights until every educational institution is inclusive, hoping for an inclusive Lebanon.

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