The urgent need to plan for disability-inclusive education

07 February 2019

Children with disabilities are one of the most excluded groups from education. Writing for Devex, IIEP's Director Suzanne Grant Lewis explains why planning for their inclusion in mainstream education is a global imperative with benefits for all of society. 

When you think of a typical school, do you envisage any children with disabilities? Are the school facilities accessible to all students and the learning materials adapted to everyone’s needs? Is the teacher trained on how to use them?

These questions only hint at the complexities involved in planning for disability-inclusive education — a global imperative in response to children with disabilities being one of the most marginalized groups in education.

There are between 93-150 million children living with a disability, according to the World Health Organization’s 2011 World Disability Report. In low- and middle-income countries, the 2016 Learning Generation report estimates that as many as 33 million children with disabilities are out of school. Stigma and discrimination combined with a lack of data — making them hard to reach — compounds the problem.

Disability-inclusive education is a strong entry point into the broader concept of inclusive education, which UNESCO defines as the process of reaching out to all learners by addressing all forms of exclusion and marginalization; disparities; and inequalities in access, participation, and learning outcomes.

Read the full opinion piece on Devex!