Disability-Inclusive Education

Persons with Disabilities are often neglected from equal opportunity initiatives and face discriminatory policies and prejudices in their daily lives (Rieser). This is a particularly prevalent problem within educational institutions, where in many places, children with disabilities are sent to institutions and thus segregated from mainstream schools, or are excluded from getting an education all together. According to the 2011 World Disability Report, approximately 93 million children live with a disability (about 5% of the world’s population) (UNICEF). Because of this there needs to be significant attention placed on inclusive education, specifically in regards to curriculum content, teaching methods, and materials, so that disabled students are able to fully participate in schools and receive quality education (Rieser). Disability-inclusive education is an approach to education that acknowledges the special educational needs of students with disabilities, without excluding them from educational environments and opportunities. Students with disabilities spend most if not all their with with non-special needs students, rather than be separated into other classrooms or sent to “special” schools. This approach recognizes the inherent right to every child to have equal opportunities to learn, and adapting classroom settings to meet their needs along with everyone else’s. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) partnered with Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ICT) to create a model policy to facilitate the implementation of the UNCRPD. The purpose of this joint effort was to document and distribute a template to better assist UNESCO Member States in effectively utilizing ICTs for all students, but particularly learners with disabilities. Furthermore, its intention was to promote the establishment of policies that strive to achieve inclusive education across all educational sectors and settings (G3ICT Model Policy for Inclusive ICTs in Education for PWDs). In order to achieve quality education for all learners, as mandated by SDG #4, it is imperative such models are put into place so that inequities are diminished and schools are truly inclusive educational institutions. Individualized services and approaches to learning must be offered for all students, including those with disabilities.