Cultural barriers and stigma keep children with disabilities out of school, as do systemic and pedagogical barriers (untrained teachers, inaccessible school infrastructure and materials). Girls, young women and persons with particular impairments such as intellectual disabilities, complex needs or multiple disabilities ( eg  deafblindness, complex communication and physical disabilities ) face the most severe educational inequities. 

Article 24 of the UNCRPD calls on States Parties to “ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning” while the objective of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 is to achieve “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” including those with disabilities. Inclusive education is a human right and an end in itself, but with wider benefits for the economy and society.

The IDDC Inclusive Education Task Group aims to promote disability-inclusive education by influencing policies, strategies and financing through evidence-based advocacy, sharing information and knowledge.

Key Data

  • As many as 93 million children with disabilities are among the most likely to be left behind.
  • In low and middle-income countries, half of the estimated 65 million primary and lower secondary school-aged children with disabilities are out-of-school. This makes up one third of the total out-of-school children.
  • 90% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school and very few young people with disabilities transition into higher levels of training and education. 
  • Only 5-15% of children who need assistive devices have access to them. 
  • With good quality education in place (well-trained teachers and strong peer support), as many as 80 – 90 % of learners with disabilities could be educated in mainstream schools with only minor additional support. (UNICEF)

Key achievements

  • Increased support for disability inclusive education investment with over 200 organisations endorsing the call to action. One key new endorsement was received from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) funding framework. 
  • Strong recognition and interest in stepping up action from bilateral, multilateral donors and at domestic level with debates, presentations, side-events, meetings, advocacy activities with the European Commission (November 2017), at Global Campaign for Education (January 2018), with GPE (February 2018), DFID Early Years workshop (November 2018), IDA-IDDC Meetings, IDA Education Flagship workshop (March 2018), Pan African Conference on Education (PACE, April 2018) on the #CostingEquity findings.
  • Successful advocacy and a presentation during the GPE replenishment conference. A Senegalese youth advocate (who is deaf) joined the youth forum resulting in disability being strongly mentioned in the youth statement. See the news articles
  • The campaign on increased investment on Early Childhood Development (ECD) entitled: “Leaving no one behind when learning starts” is underway with  a report and recommendations being formulated for dissemination in 2019. 
  • Engagement with preparations for the DFID Global Disability Summit (23-24th July 2018) with input to prepare for inclusive education related presentations both at the Summit and during the Civil Society day.
  • Representation in the GLAD network Education Working Group which discusses funding and influencing opportunities for furthering disability inclusive education finance. Input to the GLAD strategy and infographic. This activity is on-going. 
  • Representation in the Inclusive Education Initiative Technical Advisory Group   (housed in the World Bank) 
  • Supported the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities at UN HLPF with activities related to SDG 4 – Education 9-13th July, 2019. In addition supported a network event at the Unifying the Playing Field: Local and Global Movements to Advance the Right to Education a side-event on Inclusive Education hosted by GCE, Results, Light for the World Education side event  12th July, 2019 

Upcoming Priorities:

  • A high quality research piece which will form the basis of the “Leaving no one behind when learning starts” – Increasing disability-inclusive investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) campaign. Networking with other IDDC TGs and organisations beyond IDDC will be important for the success of this work.
  • Supporting the dissemination of the Global Education Monitoring Report on inclusive education in 2020. Discussions with UNESCO team underway to explore engagement at national, regional and international level.
  • Continue to foster collaboration at national level among IDDC members in an effort to improve data and evidence on which to build strong jointly implemented advocacy campaigns.
  • Continue to collaborate with and have representation in key Inclusive Education related fora e.g. GLAD, IEI, IDA
  • Foster collaboration with like-minded consortia in different regions e.g. RREI the Regional Network for Inclusive Education – RRE