People with disabilities
More than one billion people around the world, of whom nearly 93 million are children, live with some form of disability. Societies᾽ misperception of different forms and types of disability and the limited capacity of social actors to accommodate special needs often place people on the margin. Persons with disabilities experience inequalities in their daily lives, and have fewer opportunities to access a quality education that takes place in an inclusive environment.
UNESCO supports various international Human Rights Treaties and Conventions that uphold the right to education of all persons, including Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1946), the Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006).
Through a rights-based approach, UNESCO promotes inclusive education policies, programmes and practices to ensure equal education opportunities for persons with disabilities. Some areas of actions include:
- The promotion of effective practices and knowledge sharing through various platforms, such as the database “Inclusive Education in Action”, developed in cooperation with the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, and the online knowledge Community ‘Building Inclusive societies for Persons with Disabilities’.
- The establishment of institutional partnerships, through the Education Task Force of the Global Partnership for Children with Disabilities, that is co-led by UNICEF and UNESCO which seeks to guide Member States with regard to the implementation of Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- Strengthening countries’ capacity through the development of guidelines and tools that help build an inclusive learning environment, as well as on teacher training and ICTs in education for persons with disabilities (See List of Resources).
- Advocating for the right to education through the commemoration of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities that is celebrated annually on 3 December and the biannual launch of the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize to promote quality education for persons with intellectual disabilities, that rewards the activities of individuals, groups, organizations and centers that are actively promoting inclusive education.