Equity and Inclusion in Education

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Target 4.5 of the SDG 4 aims to “eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations” by 2030. The right to quality education of persons with disabilities is also provided for in the rights enshrined under United Nations Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) as well as Article 23 and 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).


Despite the articulation of right to basic quality education for all in Member States’ national laws and policy frameworks, education for persons with disabilities is often affected by a range of factors such as limited financial resources; inaccessible school facilities; lack of learning materials; and lack of reliable and comparable data etc.


As per the latest fact-sheet by UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS, 2017), children and adolescents with a disability not only have lower school attendance rates, they are also less likely to complete primary or secondary education compared to their non-disabled counterparts. The WHO analysis of primary school completion rates across 51 countries also found significantly lower rates of primary school participation and completion and fewer mean years of education among respondents with disability than respondents without disability.


In the above context, the Education Sector supports Member States to ensure that education policies, programmes and practices promote the development of inclusive education systems, from early childhood onwards. This includes overcoming barriers that limit the presence, participation and achievement of all learners. Among marginalized and vulnerable groups, UNESCO pays special attention to children with disabilities as they are over-represented in the population of those who are not in education.

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