Inclusive Education, Enshrined in the CRPD

Education as a fundamental human right is a view that has gained popularity across the world in the late 20th and 21st centuries. Education for Persons with Disabilities remains a problem that is pervasive in most societies. According to UNESCO, “Persons with disabilities are more likely to be out of school or to leave school before completing primary or secondary education.” This is a global phenomenon that has inextricable impacts on the capacity of persons with disabilities to support themselves economically, navigate access channels to health services, and generally contribute to the social fabrics of their societies.

In response to this challenge of inclusive education, the CRPD includes the provisions that states are to guarantee equal access to education (primary, secondary, and vocational) to persons with disabilities in Article 24 of the convention. In the legally binding nature of the CRPD, ratifying states are obligated not only to guarantee this equality in law, but implement concrete assistance programs that establish support systems for PWDs who require addition support in their learning. This includes specially trained teachers who are capable of teaching PWDs that may have specific needs, the use of educational materials that are accessible to blind and deaf PWDs, and to ensure that quality schools are physically accessible to PWDs.

The providing of inclusive education to PWDs is not only essential to the capacity development and economic independence of PWDS, but is also crucial to reducing the stigmatization that PWDs face in many societies. As more and more PWDs are able to access education, the stigma that paints persons with disabilities as individuals that do not contribute to the larger society as a whole can erode.

The establishment of ICTs for PWDs is one major avenue being utilized to cater education opportunities to the needs of PWDs. Fully online degree programs for higher education, remote participation in classroom activities, and the distribution of reading materials over the internet have led to fundamentally more access to education for PWDs in developed and middle income countries. In lower income countries, the need to establish available cyberinfrastucture is crucial to the ability to implement inclusive ICTs for education.

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