Flagship on Education for All and the Right to education for
Persons with Disabilities: Towards Inclusion
The right to education is universal
and must extend to all children, youth, and adults with disabilities.
This right is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of
the Child (1989) and addressed in several significant, internationally
approved declarations, including the World Declaration for
Education for All (1990), the Standard Rules on the Equalization
of Opportunities for Persons with Disability (1993), the UNESCO
Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action (1994), and the
Dakar Framework for Action (2000).
The goal of the Dakar Framework
for Action is to achieve "education for all" by
2015. The goal of Dakar will only be achieved when all nations
recognize that the universal right to education extends to
individuals with disabilities, and when all nations act upon
their obligation to establish or reform public education systems
that are accessible to, and meet the needs of, individuals
This obligation on the state
extends to the governments of developing and industrialized
nations, and must engage all government bodies charged with
setting and carrying out public education and international
development assistance programs and priorities.
This Flagship on Education
for All and the Right to education for Persons with Disabilities:
Towards Inclusion, has been established to act as a catalyst
to ensure that the right to education, and the goals of the
Dakar Framework, are realized for individuals with disabilities.
This Flagship has been formed
by an alliance of diverse organizations, including global
disability organizations, international development agencies,
intergovernmental agencies, and experts in the fields of special
and inclusive education from developed and developing nations.
The Flagship welcomes as members all those who share its goals.
The Flagship is only one venue,
and is comprised of just a small number of entities and individuals
working to achieve the goals of Education for All. To be successful,
this Flagship must engage the efforts and resources of other
EFA actors, including donor and lender organizations and government
ministries. This Flagship must also work in partnership with
others involved in the EFA effort, including those whose primary
focus is on such issues as quality teacher preparation and
training, early child development, gender equity, education
in rural areas, education monitoring tools, and other areas
critical to the availability of quality and equitable education
In all of its work, this Flagship
will stress that mainstream government and non-government
entities need to work directly and in partnership with local,
national, regional, and global organizations that are comprised
of and represent individuals with disabilities and their families.
These "disability" organizations represent diverse
groups with diverse educational needs. Their representatives
must be engaged in the development of national plans of action;
and they must be consulted to ensure that educational facilities,
curricula and materials are appropriate, and include necessary
Our challenge is significant.
According to best estimates of international agencies, we
know the following:
- 98% children with disabilities
in developing countries do NOT attend schools'
- 500,000 children every year
lose some part of their vision due to vitamin A deficiency.
- 41 million babies are born
each year at risk of mental impairment due to insufficient
iodine in their mothers' diets.
- For every child killed in
armed conflict, three are injured and permanently disabled.
40% out of 26,000 persons killed and injured by landmines
every year are children. Over 10 million children are psychologically
traumatised by armed conflicts.
- Child labour and maltreatment
such as corporal punishment, amputation, blinding of detainees,
are responsible for children becoming disabled, and can lead
to mental illness, physical and psychological disabilities,
difficulties in schools or at work, etc. (UNICEF, 2002)
We also know that the vast
majority of individuals with hearing or visual impairments
in developing nations lack basic literacy; that individuals
with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities are treated
with often cruel neglect; and that there is a strong link
between disability and poverty. We also know that all individuals
with disabilities, given the opportunity, can lead meaningful,
productive lives, and contribute to the social and economic
well being of their family and community.
Education and life-long learning
opportunities can and must erase these gaps in economic and
social development that effectively marginalize individuals
Resources must be mobilized
to create effective educational opportunities that foster
inclusive communities and social justice. The absence of resources
and effective initiatives cannot be seen as consequences of
lack of money, but as a lack of will.
The Flagship on Education for
All and the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities:
Towards Inclusion, represents a joint effort among UN organisations,
NGOs and donor countries acting together as a catalyst in
the process of achieving Education for All. The Flagship seeks
to unite all partners in its effort to reach out to children,
young people and adults with disabilities, and to promote
solutions that can translate universal rights into inclusive
THE FLAGSHIP GOAL
Recognizing the universal right to education, the Flagship
seeks to unite all EFA partners in their efforts to provide
access to and promoting completion of quality education for
every child, youth, and adult with a disability.
- to combat discrimination and remove structural barriers
to learning and participation in education
- to promote a broad concept
of education, including essential life skills and life-long
- to contribute to a focus
on the needs of persons with disabilities when resources and
activities address the realisation of EFA goals
FLAGSHIP ACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
In order to reach this goal, the Flagship will:
- Have the full participation
of persons with disabilities and families in the design of
all Flagship activities.
- Promote the full participation
of persons with disabilities and families in the development
of policies and practices related to the education of persons
with disabilities at local,national, regional, and global
- Seek to ensure that all governmental
entities, donors, and NGO's endorse the universal right of
education for all children, youth, and adults with a disability.
- Act as a catalyst to fully
incorporate the Flagship Goal into national plans of action
and regional policies.
- Work in partnership with
all other EFA Flagships to fully endorse and incorporate the
right of educating every person with a disability into their
- Mobilize resources in support
of the Flagship Goal through obtaining commitment of new resources
from national and international entities and leveraging existing
- Seek to ensure that the EFA
Monitoring Process includes specific quantitative and qualitative
statistics and indicators related to persons with disabilities
and documentation of resources allocated to the implementation
of EFA for these individuals.
- Identify and disseminate
effective practices and stimulate research and studies related
to the Flagship Goal to include such areas as:
- Quality teacher education
- School organization including
adequate and accessible facilities
- Curriculum and pedagogy
- Assistive devices and appropriate
- Promote the right of every
child and youth with a disability to express his/her view
pertaining to his/her education and life skills as defined
by Article 23.1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
UNESCO is the lead agency
for the Flagship. The Flagship can be contacted through
its Secretariat, housed jointly as follows:
7, place de Fontenoy
753 52 Paris 07
Tel: + 33 (0)1 45 68 09 74
University of Oslo
P.O. Box 1140 Blindern
Tel: + 47 22 85 81 46
Website in Inclusive Education