World Disability Day
World Disability Day

World Disability Day

The estimated 1 billion people around the world who live with a disability face a multitude of barriers to participating equally in society. In particular, their right to education is often not realised, which in turn hinders their access to other rights and creates enormous obstacles to reaching their potential and effectively participating in their communities.
It is therefore that today at the 3rd of December 2013 at World Disability Day, the Global Campaign for Education together with Handicap International have launched their report 'Equal Right, Equal opportunity. Inclusive education for children with a disability.' (with link to report)

This report calls upon the government and bi-lateral donors to:

  1. Challenge attitudes which reinforce and sustain discrimination.

    Social attitudes are a powerful driver of the marginalisation of disabled children in and from education. Broad public awareness campaigns are needed to tackle these attitudes, at various levels.

  2. Create appropriate legislative frameworks, and set out ambitious national plans for inclusion.

    Adopting appropriate legislation and developing policies or national plans of action are important starting points to achieve inclusion for all. Overall, there is a lack of information for governments about how to translate international standards, such as Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, into practice.

  3. Provide the capacity, resources and leadership to implement ambitious national plans on inclusion.

    As such we encourage and support the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to fully implement the Special Needs Education policy. Government and donors must increase financing for inclusion, while ensuring that financing is spent equitably and effectively.

  4. Improve data on disability and education, and build accountability for action.

    This means that setting realistic plans, with meaningful targets and monitoring cannot be supported due to a severe lack of reliable data on the degree of exclusion from education faced by children with disabilities. In order to plan and monitor effectively, governments must have reliable data which enables them to set bold, yet realistic, targets and then measure them.

    EFANet will conduct a mapping exercise early 2014 to gather information on number of children with a disability that are out-of-school. This exercise will be facilitated by EFANet staff, partner organisations and regional EFANet chapters. The results will be presented to the National Assembly Members during the Global Action Week 2014.

  5. Make schools and classrooms accessible and relevant for all.

    Common school- and classroom-based barriers which impact on children with disabilities being able to get an education include a lack of accessible or appropriate equipment and learning materials. Inaccessible infrastructure can also act as a physical barrier. Providing government regulations on school buildings and revising curricula can help make schools and classrooms accessible and relevant for all.

  6. Ensure there are enough appropriately trained teachers for all.

    Teachers are the most important factor in determining the quality of education a child receives. Successful inclusion requires sufficient teachers, adequately prepared and trained, and who are supported to work in inclusive ways, with specialist teaching support where necessary. Ensuring that people with disabilities can become teachers can both bring in specialist skills and understanding, and can make a strong contribution to reducing discrimination, giving all children role models of inclusion.

  7. Create an enabling environment to support inclusive education, including through cross-sectoral policies and strategies that reduce exclusion.

    It is also clear that while inclusive education systems can help schools to adapt to the needs of children living with disabilities, this must be coupled with interventions which seek to target broader social, cultural or economic barriers faced by children living with a disability. This could include community based rehabilitation, social protection schemes or health interventions.

  8. The Global Action Week in May 2014 will focus on Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for children with a disability. In light of the Global Action Week 2014 EFANet, together with its partners such as the Gambian Federation for the Disabled will keep raising awareness on these issues and advocate to establish inclusive education systems as central achievement of high quality education for all learners, and the development of inclusive societies.