Education International
Education International

Paving the way to education for people with disabilities

published 2 December 2016 updated 4 December 2016

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the International Day of People with Disabilities, Education International calls on stakeholders to double their efforts to include teachers and students with disabilities into the education system.

On this International Day of People with Disabilities, Education International (EI) reaffirms its commitment to ensuring the inclusion of disabled students and teachers in all advocacy efforts. “Teachers working with students with disabilities should be adequately trained and supported in delivering quality education,” said the global teachers’ federation in a communication sent to its affiliates.

Children, youth and teachers with disabilities face significant barriers to the enjoyment of their fundamental rights – and these barriers “should not be overlooked”, EI said. Approximately 263 million children and youth are out of school, including a significant proportion who are estimated to be disabled boys and girls, according to UNESCO.

Obstacles must be removed

Quality education for all, including children with disabilities, is an attainable goal and it will bring long-term benefits for all children and the wider society. This means removing the obstacles that hinder the full and effective participation of children, youth and people with disabilities.

Many international conventions back the right to education of people with disabilities, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For EI, it is essential that “governments must do more in order to meet their obligations”.

Inclusive environments

Teaching and learning environments must be inclusive, the statement reads, and education institutions need to be adequately resourced to support the learning of each and every student. This means ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of supported, qualified and trained teachers, accessible learning materials and other supports including an inclusive curriculum, accessible school buildings, appropriate transportation, and new technologies.

Vital role of teachers

EI also highlights the vital role of teachers in ensuring that disabled children are fully included in education. “Teachers play a crucial role in modelling inclusive attitudes and practices,” the statement concludes. “Disabled teachers can be key players in combating discrimination, promoting positive identities among disabled students, and breaking down prejudices.”

Read EI's statement in full here.