A new report released today by RESULTS UK ‘DFID, disability and education: bridging the implementation gap’ will show that the UK is not doing enough to ensure that commitments to get disabled children into school and learning are kept.
It is estimated that one in three of the 72 million children in the world who are out of school are disabled. Despite over 192 countries being signed up to conventions that require them to support inclusive education for children with disabilities, having a disability is still the factor most likely to lead to a child being excluded from school. Disabled people’s exclusion has a devastating impact on economies both in the developing and developed world.
RESULTS UK’s report analysed available data about the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) spending on education, finding that in many cases it is impossible to determine how much funding supports children with disabilities. In those cases where figures are available, amounts allocated to this area are often miniscule; for example the DFID Tanzania programme spent £26 million pounds to support the Tanzanian government’s education budget in 2006/7, but only £66,000 of this – 0.25% – could be identified as supporting school places for disabled children.
James Mwandha, former MP and former leader of Uganda’s delegation to the negotiations on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities commented:
“The international community has committed to enable every child to complete a primary education by 2015. This target cannot be reached without a fundamental change in education systems to ensure that children with disabilities are not left behind…While there is much that is positive in the findings [of this report], there is also clearly much more to be done. With the entry into force in May 2008 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which guarantees the right to an inclusive education, it is time to push this issue to the top of the international development agenda.”df
While RESULTS UK welcomes DFID’s prioritisation of education and found some examples of good practice in supporting inclusive education, the overall picture was of a scattergun approach to supporting children with disabilities.
RESULTS UK’s Executive Director, Aaron Oxley says:
“With at least 25 million children with disabilities out of school worldwide, making up one third of all out-of-school children, and over 90% of children with disabilities in the poorest countries not attending school, this is not good enough.”df
Mr Mwandha will be visiting the UK in summer 2010 to speak to Parliamentarians about how the UK can support Uganda to implement legislation on inclusive education so that the right to education can become a reality for disabled children in the country.