In recent years the number of pupils with special educational needs has grown sharply, as did the number of teachers especially devoted to take care of them. As a result of this trend, the estimated costs to the public budget of integrating handicapped pupils in ordinary schools exceeds 4 billion euros and will probably increase in the next years. Recent legislation aiming at capping the growth of certified special needs has been partially ineffective. Furthermore, the ratios of handicapped students to total students and of devoted teachers to pupils with special needs show different regional patterns and even sharper differences between provinces of the same region. The paper investigates the reasons of such differences and suggests policy measures to reduce the cost of integrating handicapped pupils in ordinary schools saving or improving the quality of service.
Keywords: Education, Special needs, Public budget
Jel Code: H51, H75, H77 I 21, I 28