Getting disabled children into school in developing countries

What donor governments must do to achieve Universal Primary Education

While progress has been made in many countries towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education and the goal of Education For All by 2015, 80 million children still remain out of school. Of these, over one-third are estimated to be disabled children. In Africa, less than 10% of disabled children are in school. Other surveys suggest that only 2% of disabled children receive an education and that disability has a greater impact on access to education than gender, household economic status or rural/urban divide.

This is a fundamental human rights issue. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly expresses the right of each child to education (Article 28), and the responsibility of governments to ensure that disabled children receive quality education (Article 23). This is reinforced by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, opened for signature and ratification on 30th March 2007, which places an obligation on governments to ensure an inclusive system, and highlights the role of international co-operation in helping governments meet their responsibilities (Article 32).

Adults and children in Malawi attend a project where a school is being built.

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Sightsavers and disability rights
Two school students in Zambia huddle together at a desk. One is writing, the other is looking at the work.

Sightsavers at the CIES education conference 2024

We're attending the conference in Miami on 6-14 March to share our expertise, engage with the education community and explore how we can transform inclusive education.

March 2024
Johannes Trimmel
Sightsavers blog

The key to inclusive education is engaging organisations of people with disabilities

Collaborating with organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs) on our inclusive education projects has earned the Sightsavers-led Inclusive Futures consortium a Zero Project Award in 2024.

Johannes Trimmel, February 2024
Mariana Rudge.
Sightsavers blog

How inclusive education can create a more equal and sustainable future

As learners with disabilities are disproportionately affected by global crises such as climate change, we're urging governments to build more resilient education systems for everyone.

Mariana Rudge, September 2023