Inclusive education – UNICEF

There are an estimated 240 million children with disabilities worldwide. Like all children, children with disabilities have ambitions and dreams for their futures. Like all children, they need quality education to develop their skills and realize their full potential.
Yet, children with disabilities are often overlooked in policymaking, limiting their access to education and their ability to participate in social, economic and political life. Worldwide, these children are among the most likely to be out of school. They face persistent barriers to education stemming from discrimination, stigma and the routine failure of decision makers to incorporate disability in school services.
Disability is one of the most serious barriers to education across the globe.
Robbed of their right to learn, children with disabilities are often denied the chance to take part in their communities, the workforce and the decisions that most affect them.
Inclusive education is the most effective way to give all children a fair chance to go to school, learn and develop the skills they need to thrive.
Inclusive education means all children in the same classrooms, in the same schools. It means real learning opportunities for groups who have traditionally been excluded – not only children with disabilities, but speakers of minority languages too.
Inclusive systems value the unique contributions students of all backgrounds bring to the classroom and allow diverse groups to grow side by side, to the benefit of all.
Inclusive education allows students of all backgrounds to learn and grow side by side, to the benefit of all.
But progress comes slowly. Inclusive systems require changes at all levels of society.
At the school level, teachers must be trained, buildings must be refurbished and students must receive accessible learning materials. At the community level, stigma and discrimination must be tackled and individuals need to be educated on the benefit of inclusive education. At the national level, Governments must align laws and policies with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and regularly collect and analyse data to ensure children are reached with effective services.
To close the education gap for children with disabilities, UNICEF supports government efforts to foster and monitor inclusive education systems. Our work focuses on four key areas:
How one boy overcame stigma and demonstrated the power of inclusive education.
“When I came to school, I was determined to show everybody I could make it.”
A supportive environment can be the most critical factor in the education of children with disabilities.
Inclusion lies at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.
This report draws on national studies to examine why millions of children continue to be denied the fundamental right to primary education.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
This document provides guidance on what Governments can do to create inclusive education systems.
Using cross-nationally comparable and nationally representative data from 18 surveys in 15 countries, this paper investigates how disability affects school attendance.


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