Children with disabilities missing out on education in low and middle income countries

Posted on: Wednesday, 20th April, 2016
Grace in the classroom in her new wheelchair given to her by CBM-supported hospital in Tanzania.

CBM has published a systematic review and policy brief on Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities. This review summarises the evidence on inclusive education and provides clear recommendations for governments, the international development community and donors.

In many low and middle-income countries, children with disabilities have very low rates of educational enrolment. Even if they do attend school they are more likely to leave school early. In some countries, having a disability more than doubles the chance of a child not being in school.

Good quality education for children with disabilities can have a transformational impact on the rest of their lives, enabling them to gain better access to jobs, health and other services. It can also break down negative perceptions around disability and promote more inclusive and equitable societies.

This publication comes at an important time as the new Sustainable Development Goals pledge to leave no one behind and, unlike in the Millennium Development Goals, Goal 4 on Education specifically references inclusive education and children with disabilities. If we are to make the most of this opportunity then we need to better understand how the needs and abilities of children with disabilities can be properly understood and supported.

This new report brings together data from over 100 studies on education for children with disabilities in low and middle income countries and provides a synthesis of the most effective approaches to ensure that children with disabilities receive a quality education.

The report finds that there have been improvements in recent years, especially around the willingness of teachers to include children with disabilities. It also provides important recommendations on how to improve the situation going forward, including on the training of teachers, early childhood intervention and fully understanding the costs of inclusion.

Hannah Loryman, CBM UK’s Senior Policy Officer said “The Sustainable Development Goals offer a huge opportunity to make sure that children with disabilities have access to good quality education. This report offers some really clear recommendations on how to do this - but is also shows us there are still some really big gaps in the research on what works, especially on the quality of education. These will need to be filled if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and make sure that children with disabilities aren’t left behind.”


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