Technical Round Table: Inclusion of children with disabilities in education sector planning in French-speaking Africa

08 July 2019

The UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO), in partnership with UNICEF, is hosting a technical Round Table from 9-11 July 2019 in Paris, France, to support ministries of education in planning education systems to include children with disabilities.

Although inclusive education must address all forms of exclusion, children with disabilities remain one of the most excluded groups of children in terms of access to education and learning. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), of the one billion people with disabilities in the world, an estimated 150 million children (14 years and under) live with disabilities. In many countries, this group of children continues to be absent or under-represented in official data. 

The round table will address these issues by involving government experts, development partners and representatives of the main national associations of people with disabilities from eight French-speaking African countries: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

Participants will take stock of current practices and opportunities for disability-responsive educational planning and consider solutions to address the lack of essential data and capacities. The IIEP Virtual Campus will offer a two-week preparatory phase for participants from 24 June to 7 July, as well as an online webinar on 27 June to discuss with a disability data expert.

Quality education is a fundamental right for all children. Children with disabilities are no exception. It is also the bedrock on which to build global peace and promote sustainable development. Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), with its focus on leaving no one behind, provides countries with an opportunity to transform their education systems to become more inclusive and equitable.

Inclusive education entails reaching out to all learners and addressing all forms of exclusion and inequalities in access, school participation, and learning outcomes. Effective models for inclusion can help children with disabilities flourish and ultimately play an important and active role in society. Inclusive education is also beneficial for all learners with its focus on diversity and quality and its responsiveness to the different needs of children.

After the Round Table, IIEP will continue its collaboration with UNICEF to develop an IIEP training offer on disability-inclusive education sector planning, starting with region-specific distance education courses.