By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)
This blog was also published by ONE
New analysis confirms that persons with disabilities are nearly always worse off than those without disabilities when it comes to education
Persons with disabilities are among the most marginalised groups in any society. Many face daily discrimination in the form of negative or even hostile attitudes and are often excluded from their fundamental human rights by poor policy choices and lack of specialised services and support. For children with disabilities, this exclusion can include the denial of the basic right to a quality education.
This matters because their wellbeing is a key barometer for progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with their emphasis on equity and on ensuring that nobody is left behind. However, hard evidence on the educational disparities linked to disability has long been marred by a lack of reliable and comparable data.
One problem has been the ‘invisibility’ of children with disabilities, with many thought to be undiagnosed, hidden at home or consigned to ‘special’ schools and, therefore, missing from mainstream education statistics. As a result, we are not even sure of their number. Some estimates suggest there are at least 93 million children with disabilities worldwide but the numbers could be much, much higher, according to UNICEF. Without this basic knowledge, it is so harder to estimate their educational status.
However, a new paper from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is a step in the right direction, as the first in-depth analysis of the available data across 49 countries. Education and Disability sets out what we know – and what we don’t – about this challenge. Continue reading