- World's 65 million differently-abled children are kept out of school
- People don't see differently-abled children as a worthy investment
- Inclusive education can drastically reduce out-of-school populations
London: At least half of the world’s 65 million school-age children who are differently-abled are kept out of the classroom because little to no money is budgeted for their needs, disability rights groups said in a report on Monday.
Light for the World, a charity which supported the research, said stigma and misinformation surrounding the differently-abled as well as a lack of data on the numbers of differently-abled children contributed to the problem.
“People don’t see them (differently-abled children) as a worthy investment,” said Nafisa Baboo, adviser for inclusive education at Light for the World.
“Many think that there’s no point investing in their education as differently-abled people can’t work,” said Ms Baboo.
The rights groups said that billions of dollars of potential income from the world’s poorest countries are being lost through lack of schooling and employment for people who are differently-abled.
“Differently-abled Children are constantly left at the very back of the queue, and the impact on both individuals and economies can be disastrous,” said Julia McGeown of Handicap International.
The report by the International Disability and Development Consortium said the exclusion of differently-abled children was a major obstacle to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all by 2030.
In September, a report by the UN education and cultural agency UNESCO found that the education sector globally has been substantially underfunded and international aid to education is declining.
“The SDGs give governments an opportunity to up their game,” said Baboo, adding that donors should prioritise efforts to reverse the decline in aid for education.
The new report urges governments to provide facilities for the education of differently-abled children within a mainstream system.
“Inclusive education can drastically reduce out-of-school populations, it can tackle discrimination in society, and it is considerably cheaper than segregated education,” said Ms Baboo.
“It’s not just morally right, it’s also a smart investment,” she added.