Over the years, I have been lucky enough to have grown up in an environment where access to quality education seems to be a basic commodity that most people have been able to take advantage of (at least until high school) if pursuing an education was the path they chose to follow. Education has often been thought of as one of the keys to economic success as it enables you with the knowledge and skills necessary in order to obtain a job with a sufficient enough salary to live a relatively comfortable life and to be able to support one’s family. Unfortunately, widespread access to quality education for all persons is not always the case for millions of people around the world. Often time, different groups, such as women, pwds, or low-income individuals, are faced with unequal access to education, thus inhibiting them from gaining the the skills and capabilities necessary in order to reach a higher potential of productivity in society (if that is the goal that one seeks to reach). Thus, SDG 4, to “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”, has been one of the goals that the international community has agreed should be stressed upon, in order to promote higher levels of development worldwide.
The Model Policy for Inclusive ICTs in Education for Persons with Disabilities aims to assist UNESCO member states in “promoting the effective use of inclusive ICTs in education for learners with disabilities” (unesco.org). This model is interesting in the way that it aims to increase access to ICTs (which is a goal within itself) for more inclusive education, while also aiming to ensure that these ICTs are accessible by various groups of pwds to make sure that no one group is neglected in their overall access to the means of a quality education. I also believe that this model policy will be more effective in the sense that it also targets “any learners who are vulnerable to exclusion from any sector of education” (unesco.org), which correlates to the idea of “inclusive” education.
Along with aiming for more inclusive education, it is also important to uphold a certain standard of quality of the education. For example, in the article “ Inclusive Education Initiatives for Children with Disabilities: Lessons from the East Asia and Pacific Region”, one of the lessons that is mentioned is that “it is important to maintain a balance between rapid expansion and good quality educational provision” (pg 33). I think often time in development projects, people tend to analyze the importance of numbers more than the actual outcome of a project (in regards to its quality). Thus, it is important for international development actors to keep in mind that while helping more and more children access a facility for education, it is also important to keep track of other quality indicators, such as the quality of a teacher, or the quality of the school facility itself in making sure that every part of the facility is safe, and accessible by all students.