This research investigates the fulfilment of the right to education of children with disabilities across 21 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.
This study adopted a mixed methods approach combining analysis of data derived from a desk study and that from a small-scale survey. It also incorporated findings and analysis from the country studies conducted in the Comoros, Madagascar and Rwanda where three different research groups, consisting of international researchers and a national researcher, undertook fieldwork, including interviews and school visits.
The findings are generally encouraging, though there are mixed levels of political commitment throughout the region. Although the vast majority of Ministries of Education have some degree of responsibility for educating children with disabilities, it is not always clear where central responsibility for this lies. Spreading the responsibility without clarity and accountability could result in a climate in which each ministry is unsure of its role and services are not delivered effectively. Further to this, it is often only observable disabilities that are recognised, with many not recognising disabilities which impact a child's capacity to learn. A key recommendation relates to ensuring legislation and policies are reviewed to check for consistency for states that have ratified the convention, and advocacy to encourage non-signatory states to ratify the convention and protocol.
An inclusive education approach is reported to be the dominant strategy for providing education to children with disabilities. However, there is little evidence that documents political commitment to implement such approaches, such as provision of teacher training for inclusive education as a mainstream activity. Although important disability-specific teacher training programmes have taken shape in some countries, they have not yet been given the prominence and status required to ensure that teachers gain the skills needed to meet the needs of an inclusive education system. Despite the challenges, the evidence also suggests there is good practice taking place across the region, with some innovative examples of state and non-state provision for children with disabilities, and teacher education programmes which specifically address support for children with disabilities. A key recommendation is for initial teacher education and continuing professional development to be reviewed to ensure specialist and mainstream teachers are prepared to include children with disabilities in education. General improvements in teaching quality, such as a problem-solving attitude to children’s difficulties at school and strategies for helping children when they find something hard to learn, will help all children.
Demand-side conditions show poverty to pose financial challenges to poor households and affects those with children with disabilities more acutely. Parents sometimes do not prioritise education for children with disabilities, with other parents in mainstream schools holding negative attitudes towards children with disabilities being in the same class as their child. Stigmatisation of disability can be compounded by issues such as having no school uniform, and being a girl often means facing a double sense of descrimination and marginalisation. Sensitisation of parents, caregivers and communities is vital in recognising the right to education for every child, including children with disabilities, given the stigma and cultural attitudes towards disability.
This research investigates the fulfilment of the right to education of children with disabilities across 21 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.Download now
We were delighted to host the UK’s Special Envoy on Gender and Equality, Alicia Herbert OBE, as part of her visit to Rwanda to attend the Rwandan government-led Women Deliver summit. On the second day of her visit, Ms Herbert visited our Building Learning Foundations (BLF) Programme to observe a girls' club activity at GS Mburabuturo, a government school located in Kigali.
Following Covid-19-related school closures across Rwanda, our Building Learning Foundations team commissioned an inequity impact assessment of the country’s primary-age school population to investigate how children from different backgrounds and contexts have fared during the period of closures, and to inform plans for school reopening.
Globally, there are 70.8 million forcibly displaced persons. Among these are 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are children. Effective teacher management is key to ensuring inclusive, equitable, quality education for these young people, and teachers constitute the most important factor affecting student learning. In crisis and displacement situations, the role of teachers is particularly significant: they are sometimes the only resource available to students. This report investigates teacher management in refugee contexts in Ethiopia, and is the first in a series of country reports. It contributes to a burgeoning body of evidence about teachers in refugee contexts and aims to provide policy guidance to support ministries of education.