The 2013 edition of The state of the world’s children is dedicated to the situation of children with disabilities. The report examines the barriers – from inaccessible buildings to dismissive attitudes, from invisibility in official statistics to vicious discrimination – that deprive children with disabilities of their rights and keep them from participating fully in society. It also lays out some of the key elements of inclusive societies that respect and protect the rights of children with disabilities, adequately support them and their families, and nurture their abilities – so that they may take advantage of opportunities to flourish and make their contribution to the world. Chapter 3 includes a section specifically on inclusive education (pages 27 to 36). 

The second edition of the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) presents the latest evidence on global progress towards the education targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

With hundreds of millions of people still not going to school, and many not achieving minimum skills at school, it is clear education systems are off track to achieve global goals. The marginalised currently bear the most consequences but also stand to benefit the most if policy-makers pay sufficient attention to their needs. Faced with these challenges, along with tight budgets and increased emphasis on results-oriented value for money, countries are searching for solutions. Increased accountability often tops the list.

The 2017/8 GEM Report shows the entire array of approaches to accountability in education. It ranges from countries unused to the concept, where violations of the right to education go unchallenged, to countries where accountability has become an end in itself instead of a means to inclusive, equitable and high-quality education and lifelong learning for all.

The report emphasises that education is a shared responsibility. While governments have primary responsibility, all actors – schools, teachers, parents, students, international organizations, private sector providers, civil society and the media – have a role in improving education systems. The report emphasises the importance of transparency and availability of information but urges caution in how data are used. It makes the case for avoiding accountability systems with a disproportionate focus on narrowly defined results and punitive sanctions. In an era of multiple accountability tools, the report provides clear evidence on those that are working and those that are not.

In the present report, the Special Rapporteur reviews the role of equity and inclusion in strengthening the right to education, in particular in the context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Special Rapporteur concludes by calling for states to take significant, positive actions to tackle discrimination, inequity and exclusion in education to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are met.

Under the law, all Lebanese children should have access to education free from discrimination. Lebanon’s Law 220 of 2000 grants persons with disabilities the right to education, health, and other basic rights. It set up a committee dedicated to optimizing conditions for children registered as having a disability to participate in all classes and tests.

In reality, the educational path of children with disabilities in Lebanon is strewn with logistical, social, and economic pitfalls that mean they often face a compromised school experience—if they can enroll at all.

Under the law, all Lebanese children should have access to education free from discrimination. Lebanon’s Law 220 of 2000 grants persons with disabilities the right to education, health, and other basic rights. It set up a committee dedicated to optimizing conditions for children registered as having a disability to participate in all classes and tests.

Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) has produced a summary of content related to disability and education from their reports dating back to 2010. This summary provides background to those aiming to take part in the ongoing online consultation for the 2020 GEM Report on inclusion and education.

The summary gives ten key messages with accompanying evidence:

  1. Most countries have committed to protect the right to education for people with disabilities, which offers a basis for accountability.
  2. But assessing compliance with this right is complicated by blurred definitions and a lack of monitoring mechanisms.
  3. Organizations of persons with disabilities, as well as families and communities, can play a significant role in monitoring country commitments to the right to education.
  4. There is a lack of concrete data showing the true scale of disabilities worldwide and its link to education, although this should improve soon.
  5. We know that marginalization is more acute for children with disabilities.
  6. A relatively larger share of children with disabilities live in poorer countries.
  7. Children with disabilities are less likely to attend and complete primary school
  8. Those with disabilities are more likely to be without basic literacy skills
  9. Disability intersects with other disadvantages to exacerbate children’s disadvantage.
    • Poverty is both a potential cause and a consequence of disability
    • Girls and those in conflict with disabilities can be especially vulnerable.
  10. Different disabilities create very different education-related challenges

The summary also lists ten recommendations on education policies highlighted in previous GEM Reports as being able to counteract marginalization caused by disabilities:

  1. Governments should fulfil Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities commitments to set up mechanisms for coordination, independent monitoring, enforcement, complaint and reparation.
  2. Measuring progress in education for children with disabilities requires also having measures based on nationally representative household surveys, rather than only on children who are in school.
  3. Governments should develop inclusive curricula to help break down barriers faced by children with disabilities in the classroom.
  4. Separating children from their peers or families is detrimental to their development and potential.
  5. Teachers must be supported with training and pedagogical tools to reach children with special needs.
  6. More teachers with disabilities should be hired.
  7. Multiple sectors should provide early childhood services to reach children comprehensively.
  8. Approaches to support people living with disabilities should involve the community to alleviate societal barriers to progress.
  9. Countries should enforce minimum standards on school accessibility for children with disabilities.
  10. Additional funds are required to meet the education needs of children with disabilities.

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