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Access to education is not just a human right, it is the single greatest predictor of a fulfilling life, and perhaps the most important measure of a society’s social and economic potential.

Why education is an issue

Without that access, a future of living separate from society becomes cemented at an early age. But access is not enough.

In fact, access without expertise can actually increase the chance for social stigma without increasing the opportunity to learn. Too many members of the CP community—whether in elementary or graduate-level learning environments—find themselves relegated to the back of the classroom without appropriate support to ensure they learn. Others can become so much of the focus of an inexperienced teacher’s attention that, sadly, other class members and their families can develop resentment.

The key to success is enough qualified educators and support specialists to ensure that every person receives the education they deserve in the way that best ensures they are able to learn.

This challenge extends beyond the classroom to all forms of learning. From access to knowledge through the internet, to the specialised training that can help a person get a new job or promotion.

Barriers to education

The World Health Organization identified a number of barriers that prevent children with disabilities from attending school:

  • Government level barriers: Lack of legislation, policy, targets and plans; divided ministerial responsibilities; and inadequate resources
  • School level barriers: Curriculum and ways of teaching; physical barriers; labelling; attitudinal barriers; violence and bullying.

This results in poor participation in many countries:

  • In Bolivia, almost 95% of children 6-11 years without a disability attend school, while less than 40% of children with a disability attend school.
  • In Indonesia, 85% of children 6-11 years without a disability attend school, while less than 30% of children with a disability attend school.

(1) World Health Organization, World report on disability 2011

Stories of Change

How educators are fostering inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream schools.



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