Diane Richler, Inclusion International’s Ambassador to the UN attended ‘The Final Sprint to 2015 Delivering Quality Education & Learning for All’ (16 – 19 April 2013) meetings in Washington on how to ensure that those children most excluded from education are not forgotten.
Speaking at the meetings Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education said ‘16 million of the 61 million children out of school are children with disabilities. The world has 1000 days to reach the goal of Education for All and get them all into school.’
Information presented by Rolando Jr. C. Villamero of the Phillipines showed that the percentage of children with disabilities out of school is greater because of the number of child laborers who have disabilities. Deaf children are often forced to do domestic labor and children with intellectual disabilities are forced to beg because their parents don’t think they can benefit from education.
Speaking about the meetings Diane said: ‘There is more recognition that children with disabilities are among those most excluded from school but the remedies being proposed by the World Bank and others to get more children into school will continue to marginalize those with disabilities.
Speakers acknowledged that many of the children now out of school are children with disabilities. However they don’t understand that the best way to ensure that children with disabilities get an education is by creating inclusive systems. There is a perpetuation of the out-dated idea that because students with disabilities may have some particular needs they therefore need to be taught by specialists in special settings. Other participants questioned the current delivery model, which opens the door to talking about the need for inclusive systems that can meet the needs of all learners’
The World Bank announced that they have changed their focus from Education for All to Learning for All. This could open the door to more emphasis on inclusion with individualized support.
The Global Campaign for education launched Global Education week focusing on teachers. The focus next year will be on Disability.