UNESCO’s Education for All Monitoring Report

(London, UK, March, 2011) UNESCO’s annual Global Monitoring Report on Education for All,

“The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education”, released March 1st, warns that “conflict continues to blight the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people. Warfare is also destroying opportunities for education on a scale that is insufficiently recognized. Over 40% of out-of-school children live in conflict-affected countries.”

While the report draws attention to direct and indirect impact of conflict on the health of children, it does not adequately examine the particular exclusion from education of children from various disadvantaged groups. Conflict not only results in increased incidents of disability, children with disabilities in conflict areas are disproportionately less likely to have access to education.

The report makes one single reference to children with disabilities, “Armed conflict directly and indirectly undermines the health and psychological well-being of children entering school systems. One study using World Health Organization data found that civil war significantly increased the incidence of death and disability from many infectious diseases, including AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases (Ghobarah et al., 2003). The higher levels of malnutrition in conflict zones help” (UNESCO, Global Monitoring Report, 2011)

However stories such the following taken from a report on post-conflict in Kenya demonstrate the systemic impact of war on access to education for marginalized groups;

“Josephine Amboga a strong KAIH member and her daughter Angelina Seruya lived in the Internally Displaced camp for one and half years. They have temporarily been settled by the local administration in a neighbourhood close to where they used to live but life has never been the same for them again. On several occasions their new neighbours have ganged up forcing the village elders and leaders to kick them out of their home due to Angelina’s disability. One of the neighbours was quoted saying that “they cannot agree to live in the same compound with a Person with disability”. The case has been forwarded severally to the local administration. KAIH Nairobi office has been proactive in ensuring the local administration is sensitized on disability issues and Josephine and her daughter are not kicked out of their home. Angelina has been ailing for a year and hasn’t been able to go to school, the mother suspects that her daughter’s condition is due to the harsh treatment they went through while in the camp.”


Klaus Lachwitz, President of Inclusion International commented,

“We agree with the need to apply focused attention to the effect of armed conflict on access to education. Inclusion International is, however, surprised and disappointed that the report does not acknowledge or provide recommendations to address the significant number of children who become disabled as a result of armed conflicts nor the disproportionate impact of armed conflicts on the education of children with disabilities.”

Connie Laurin-Bowie, Executive Director, Inclusion International