Estimates indicate that around 90 per cent of children with disabilities in the developing world do not go to school.
Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stipulate that countries must take steps to ensure that persons with disabilities access an inclusive, quality and free primary and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live.
Through a rights-based approach, UNESCO encourages the development and implementation of inclusive education policies, programmes and practices to ensure equal education opportunities for persons with disabilities.
UNESCO promotes effective practices and knowledge sharing through various platforms, such as the Inclusive education in action: Empowering teachers, empowering learners website, developed in cooperation with the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education and the online Knowledge Community on ‘Building Inclusive Societies for Persons with Disabilities’.
UNESCO supports countries in their efforts towards the inclusion of children with diverse learning challenges and children with disabilities in education through the development of guidelines and tools, teacher training and the use of ICTs in education.
Advocacy and awareness raising are another area of UNESCO’s actions to ensure the fulfillment of the right to education for persons with disabilities. This includes celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on 3 December.
UNESCO’s actions are carried out with key partners and networks, such as the Global Partnership for Children with Disabilities, co-led with UNICEF and Leonard Cheshire Disability, an international NGO in official partnership with UNESCO.