Epilepsy and school in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region: The current situation, challenges, and solutions



Kissani N, Balili K, Mesraoua B, Abdulla F, Bashar G, Al-Baradie R, Elsahli R, Ibrahim E, Al-Asmi A, Mounir N, Kishk NA, Harharah A, Abu Aliqa A, Honein A, Arabi M, Asadi-Pooya AA.


Epilepsy Behav. 2020 Nov;112:107325. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107325. Epub 2020 Jul 24.


Education is a human right that plays a key role in social and economic development. Children having active epilepsy may not be properly schooled in ordinary school structures. Students with epilepsy (SWE) are often faced with academic barriers. The lack of information about the current status of special education for SWE obliged the researchers to try to describe the existing reality of the special education practices in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We disseminated a simple self-administered questionnaire via email to main healthcare professionals involved in epilepsy care in the MENA region, and we also did a literature search on the PubMed, Google Scholar, and Embase engines. We ranked the countries in terms of their educational system. The 1st group contains the most advanced educational system, including specialized schools for SWE. The 2nd group contains an educational system with specialized but less structured schools. The 3rd group includes countries using integrated classes or classes mixing many children with cognitive disabilities. The 4th group includes countries with ordinary classes for SWE, and finally, the 5th group with no schooling for children with epilepsy (CWE). This study indicates that 60% of the countries in the MENA region belong to the 3rd group; there is only one country in each of the first two groups. This work highlights the need to develop structured environments for schooling for SWE in the MENA region. CI – Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Link/DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107325