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UNESCO Flagship, Education for All: The Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities:

UNESCO Flagship, “Education for All: The Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities: Towards Inclusion”


The Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities: Towards Inclusion


According to estimates of international agencies:

More than 90 per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend schools.

About 500,000 children every year lose some part of their vision due to vitamin A deficiency.

Some 41 million babies are born each year at risk of mental impairment due to insufficient iodine in their mothers' diets.

For every child killed in armed conflict, three are injured and permanently disabled. Of the 26,000 people killed and injured by landmines every year, 40 per cent are children. Over 10 million children are psychologically traumatized by armed conflicts.

Child labour and maltreatment such as corporal punishment, amputation and blinding of detainees, lead to children becoming disabled and succumbing to mental illness, physical and psychological disabilities, and difficulties in schools or at work.

Moreover, the vast majority of individuals with hearing or visual impairments in developing nations lack basic literacy and those with intellectual and mental disabilities are often treated with cruel neglect. There is a strong link between disability and poverty. However, all individuals with disabilities, given the opportunity, can lead meaningful, productive lives, and contribute to the social and economic well being of their family and community. Education and lifelong learning opportunities can and must overcome inequalities in economic and social development that effectively marginalize individuals with disabilities.


The Flagship seeks to unite all partners in its effort to provide access to education and to promote completion of quality education by every child, and adult with disabilities.
This goal will be reached through:
  • Encouraging policy-makers and managers to look at the barriers within the education system, how they arise and how they can be removed;

  • Working to ensure that the right to education for all persons with disabilities is incorporated in National Education Plans;

  • Stimulating and monitoring development in the field of awareness raising and advocacy for the right to education;

  • Ensuring that EFA monitoring processes include data and documentation of resources allocated to persons with disabilities; and

  • Encouraging work by students, parental involvement in the classroom, teacher problem-solving and mutual support.

  • Development of policy guidelines to influence and support national educational policies in becoming more inclusive in their approaches.

  • Capacity-building on Inclusive Education approaches.

  • Production of training materials to stimulate the development of inclusive approaches in education.

  • Use of new information and communication technology to develop "New Opportunities for Children and Young People with Disabilities".

UNESCO is the lead agency for the Flagship, which is a joint effort among United Nations organizations, NGOs and donor countries acting together as a catalyst in the process of achieving Education for All. UNESCO and the University of Oslo form a joint secretariat. The Steering Board is constituted of a number of organizations: International Disability Organizations (IDO), UNICEF, the World Bank, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and national UNESCO Commissions of the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway).

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