While progress has been made in many countries towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education and the goal of Education For All by 2015, 80 million children still remain out of school. Of these, over one-third are estimated to be disabled children. In Africa, less than 10% of disabled children are in school. Other surveys suggest that only 2% of disabled children receive an education and that disability has a greater impact on access to education than gender, household economic status or rural/urban divide.
This is a fundamental human rights issue. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly expresses the right of each child to education (Article 28), and the responsibility of governments to ensure that disabled children receive quality education (Article 23). This is reinforced by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, opened for signature and ratification on 30th March 2007, which places an obligation on governments to ensure an inclusive system, and highlights the role of international co-operation in helping governments meet their responsibilities (Article 32).
How an evaluation tool to assess children’s development has been adapted for young children with disabilities in Kenya.
Sightsavers’ Liesbeth Roolvink and Gillian Mackay share learnings from the SMILE project in Nigeria, where a new questionnaire is being used in schools to assess children’s educational needs.
In February 2023, Sightsavers will present at the Comparative and International Education Society conference in Washington DC.