Resolution on the rights of disabled children and teachers

published 25 July 2015 updated 31 March 2017

The 7th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from 21nd to 26th July 2015:

Declares that:

1. Congress is concerned at the lack of progress of disabled children and students into education and successful completion of their education, across the world. Congress notes recent estimates by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) suggest that 40% (24 million) of those remaining out of school are disabled children and that a much greater number than their peers drop out, fail to complete their education or transfer to secondary or higher education. The Millennium Development Goal 2 that all children will complete primary education by 2015 will not be met in many countries. Congress welcomes the fact that 17 million more children are in primary education than in 2000 and welcomes big increases in gender equality in many countries.

2. However, Congress is concerned that for most of the last 15 years the focus on Education for All has meant that the specific measures necessary to include all disabled children in education have not generally been put in place. These include access, reasonable accommodations, personal support, differentiation of teaching and learning, flexible assessment, disability equality, challenging disabilist attitudes and harassment, building relationships and self-esteem and access to, for example, Braille, Sign Language. It is also vital that more disabled teachers are employed within the education system.

3. Children with disabilities are often ‘left behind’ in advocacy campaigns related to literacy and numeracy, education in emergency, girls’ education, education financing and vocational training, and so on. In addition, there has been a lack of progress against all the EFA goals for those with disabilities. The UNESCO Institute of Statistics draft Post 2015 Indicators show further evidence of the inadequate attention given to children with disabilities. Furthermore the lack of proper indicators to track those with disabilities is missing.

4. Congress is alarmed that very little attention is paid to the barriers faced by disabled teachers. There is scant research globally on the recruitment, retention and progression of disabled teachers. It is essential that information is available on the situation of disabled teachers in order to overcome barriers faced by them.

5. Congress also notes that 150 countries and the European Union have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), yet all 13 country reports by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are critical of the lack of progress in implementing inclusive education in line with Article 24.

6. Congress remains concerned that these resolutions and intentions are not being delivered.

7. Therefore, Congress instructs the EI Executive Board to:

a. Enhance its efforts to get all children around the world, including all disabled children, into education, to successfully complete their primary education and to significantly increase numbers transitioning to secondary, higher and further education and/or community-based or assisted living programs;

b. Ensure strong support for the measures outlined above and to ensure strong support for strengthening the Sustainable Development Goals to enhance inclusion of disabled children, students and teachers;

c. Lobby hard through all relevant agencies to get the UNCRPD Committee to issue strengthening and clarifying guidance on Article 24; and

d. Actively promote recruitment and employment of disabled teachers and furthering the global research on the situation of disabled.