UNESCO online discussion highlights the right to technical and vocational education for people with disabilities

Participants from 21 countries contributed to an online discussion: “Skills for work and life: empowering people with disabilities” launched by UNESCO in cooperation with the European Network on Inclusive Education and Disability.

The month-long online workshop, which came to a close on the eve of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, provided a forum to share experiences and concrete proposals on how to ensure Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) fulfils its potential in relation to the Education Agenda 2030 and in particularly Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 8, in line with the fundamental principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

TVET can play an important role in the development and utilisation of skills and capabilities and learning pathways, especially for persons with disabilities who are vulnerable to lack of job security or jobs/careers for life.  TVET can be instrumental for enhancing the career success and quality of life of people with disabilities However, TVET systems and programmes do not always open up opportunities for people with various disabilities in the world of work.

Speaking on the day UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said: “We have seen progress across the world, but persons with disabilities remain one of the most marginalized groups today. Disability cuts across the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and ties together all the Sustainable Development Goals. For its part, UNESCO will continue to work across the board to empower all persons with disabilities.”

Participants discussed three interconnected topics (1) Advancing inclusive and equitable access to TVET (2) Improving quality and relevance in TVET to support transitions; and (3) Transforming TVET for inclusive and sustainable societies.