December 3rd marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
It happens all too often today that children with disabilities remain at a comparative disadvantage to their peers.
Charting a path towards universal access to primary and secondary schooling, along with effective learning for all begins with identifying the children left behind. The development of policies and programmes is constrained by the lack of reliable data on disabled children, particularly in developing countries.
Millions of children today live with a disability that makes them more likely to be marginalized or miss out on education.
For a child who enters an education system with a disability, more resources may be required to achieve opportunities that others take for granted. (The same is true of those children who live in poverty, or are disadvantaged due to ethnicity or gender). Unfortunately, spending is often skewed in favour of more privileged students.
Furthermore, the most marginalised people- which includes women and people with disabilities are often trapped in the informal economy because of discrimination which limits their opportunities. The informal economy generally lacks options for career development and progression.
Attitudes and cultural norms will also have to change. In Montenegro, national efforts have been under way to change attitudes that block access to education for children with disabilities. An intensive public awareness campaign began in 2010 and is partially credited with generating greater public interest in the issue. In 2014 poll, 78% of Montenegrins supported inclusive education.
If you want to find out more about the rights enshrined for people- and in particular young people with disabilities- in the 2007 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, click here.