Children with disabilities are still persistently excluded from opportunities to obtain an education in many countries. Even in countries that have made great strides in enrolling most of their children in primary school and closing the gender gap, children with disabilities are often left behind. Sometimes they are literally the last to be enrolled: in Nepal, 85 percent of children not in school have disabilities. When children miss the opportunity to go to school and receive a good quality education on an equal basis with their peers, this hinders them from accessing other rights such as the right to a decent job.
The publication, Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities, outlines seven interdependent, broad strategies for governments to consider in removing barriers to education and promoting more inclusive education systems for students with disabilities:
- Strategy 1: Create appropriate legislative frameworks, and set out ambitious national plans for inclusion.
- Strategy 2: Provide the capacity, resources, and leadership to implement ambitious national plans on inclusion.
- Strategy 3: Improve data on disability and education and build accountability for action.
- Strategy 4: Make schools and classrooms accessible and relevant for all.
- Strategy 5: Ensure there are enough appropriately trained teachers for all.
- Strategy 6: Challenge attitudes that reinforce and sustain discrimination.
- Strategy 7: Create an enabling environment to support inclusive education, including through cross-sectoral policies and strategies that reduce exclusion.
The report explains the rationale for why each strategy is needed and offers some broad advice on how to implement it. It also shares concrete examples of how some countries have succeeded in implementing disability inclusive education and explains why these attempts were successful. These case studies include examples from India, Italy, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Gambia, Burkina Faso, and Palestine Occupied Territories.
Published by Global Campaign for Education with financial support from Handicap International.