Stakeholders’ Views on Strategies, Measures and Policies Implemented in Education of Students with Disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Greece


  • Theodora Papazoglou Department of Educational Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens
  • Stavroula Kalaitzi Department of Educational Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens
  • Filippos Papazis Department of Educational Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens
  • Anastasia Vlachou Department of Educational Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens
  • Lia Tsermidou Department of Educational Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens
  • Anastasia Toulia Department of Special Education, University of Thessaly, Volos
  • Aristea Fyssa Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education, University of Patras, Patra



special-inclusive education, pandemic crisis, preparedness


PURPOSE. The pandemic crisis outbreak had a severe impact on all aspects of people’s lives worldwide. Educational systems applied across the globe, were forced to adapt to new, restricting conditions overnight changing abruptly the educational landscape, especially for students with disabilities (SwDs). The lack of central preparedness strategy and the unprecedented conditions called upon the  experts, administrators, teachers and parents/carers to interpret and implement strategies, policies, and measures challenging progress conquered in the past years in inclusive education. The aim of the present study was to investigate the experiences and views of key-stakeholders in special and inclusive education in Greece (experts-regional coordinators, administrators, parents/carers) on strategies, measures and policies implemented in education of SwDs during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and to explore potential perspectives emerged in safeguarding the special and inclusive education in crisis times.        

METHODS. An exploratory qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was applied. The participants of the study were 31 key-stakeholders in total (11 experts-regional coordinators, 10 administrators, and 10 parents/carers who have children with disabilities). Interviews were conducted via video conferencing platforms using three different interview protocols designed by the research team for the purposes of the study. Qualitative data were collected and analyzed using content analysis.    

RESULTS. The findings reveal both similar and diverging approaches among the stakeholders      regarding the strategies, measures and policies as well as concerning the surfaced challenges and proposed recommendations. Emphasis by the stakeholders is given to the lack of systematic recording of needs and preparedness plan before the pandemic outbreak. The lack of central guidance and support is identified as a major aggravating factor regardless of the initiatives taken at individual or local level to promote learning of SwDs. All stakeholders acknowledged  the need to develop and use an applicable preparedness plan for schools during crisis, in order to maintain and promote further equal access to education for all students.

CONCLUSION. The key-stakeholders of the special and inclusive education in Greece have similar and diverging views on how the special education challenges were addressed during the pandemic crisis. However, all parties concurred on the pressing need for a preparedness plan to be applied to all schools in case of a future crisis.


Points of Interest                                                                                                                                                                   

  • The present paper presents the views of key-stakeholders regarding the strategies, policies, programs implemented for the education of SwDs during the pandemic crisis in Greece.
  • The importance of the study lies in the fact that primary data were collected from the full range of key-stakeholders (teachers/professionals, administrators as well as parents/carers) in inclusive education.
  • The results show views on the following central themes: preparation and operation of schools, educational practices and material, measures, services, educational programs, interventions, emerging needs of SwDs, as well as challenges, recommendations, and feedback.
  • The results reflect an interesting canvas of similar and diverging views across the involved key stakeholders in the education of SwDs during the pandemic crisis.


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