Inclusive Education for All: A review of how AbleChildAfrica is overcoming the barriers to education
2016 marked 10 years since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Whilst this is a huge milestone for disabled people, the issue remains that disabled children are still one of the most excluded and marginalised groups of children, facing extensive violations of their rights – particularly with regards to education. Negative attitudes, lack of understanding/misperceptions (e.g. fear of difference, contagion or contamination), negative cultural or religious views and inadequate policies and legislations have stigmatised disabled children, effectively preventing them from accessing their right to education. It is estimated that there are at least 93 million disabled children in the world4, approximately 1 in every 7 of the world’s population. This is the world’s largest minority.
Education is globally recognised to be a key catalyst for development – the benefits are well documented. Research shows that education not only enables individuals to perform better in the labour market, but also helps to improve their overall health, increase gender equality, promote active citizenship and fosters peace; it gives individuals the knowledge and skills they need to live better lives and it contributes towards breaking the poverty cycle. Education is considered a basic human right. EVERY child has the right to education and yet in 2014, 263 million children, adolescents and youth were out of school. So why there are still so many disabled children out of school and what is being done to change that?
This report aims to examine the largest minority group of children out of school and what the barriers are to learning for them. With over 30 years experience in working with and for the rights of disabled children, AbleChildAfrica has developed and tested various models and programmes of change and development to enable disabled children to access their right to education. These programmes are further explored in this report to better understand what is and can be done to support disabled children to overcome the challenges in accessing an inclusive education and remain in school.