Global Action Week For Education 2014

Equal Right, Equal Opportunity: Education and Disability

In most low- and middle-income countries, children with disabilities are more likely to be out of school than any other group of children; even if they do attend school, children living with disabilities are often more likely to drop out and leave school early. In some countries, having a disability can more than double the chance of a child not being in school, compared to their non-disabled peers. It is, therefore, unsurprising that in many countries children with disabilities make up the vast majority of those out of school. For those children with disabilities who actually manage to enter classrooms, the quality and form of schooling received – often in segregated schools – can act to powerfully compound exclusion from the mainstream and confirm pre-existing societal notions about disability.

The GCE membership will be focusing its 2014 Global Action Week on raising the awareness of issues around disability with the campaign Equal Right, Equal Opportunity: Education and Disability.

Global Action Week is one of the major focal points for the education movement. Created and led by the Global Campaign for Education, Global Action Week provides everyone campaigning for the right to education with an opportunity to highlight a core area of the Education For All agenda and make targeted efforts to achieve change on the ground, with the added support of millions of members of the public worldwide joining together for the same cause.

We are asking teachers, students, education campaigners and members of the public to take part in Global Action Week events happening all around the world, 4-10 May 2014.

  • In Malawi and Tanzania, a child with a disability is twice as likely to have never attended school as a child without a disability. In Burkina Faso, having a disability increases the risk of children being out of school by two and a half times.
  • In Bolivia it is estimated that 95% of the population aged 6 to 11 years are in school, while only 38% of children with disabilities are – more than doubling the chances of not being in school.
  • In Ethiopia, according to the Ministry of Education, fewer than 3% of children with disabilities have access to primary education, and access to schooling decreases rapidly as children move up the education ladder.
  • In Nepal, 85% of all children out of school are disabled.
  • Girls with disabilities fare even worse than boys. In Malawi one study showed that more girls with disabilities have never attended school compared to boys with disabilities. This translates into lower literacy rates as adults: for instance, national statistics in Ghana show that the literacy rate for non-disabled adults stands at 70%, which reduces to 56% for adults living with disabilities, and this drops to just 47% for women with disabilities.
  • Italy is the only European country in which almost all disabled pupils (over 99%) were included in mainstream schools.