Achieving Disability-inclusive Education in a Post-COVID World
A world where inclusive education can flourish is also a world that can nurture inclusive societies. Inclusive learning environments consider diversity an asset and, accordingly, they cater for the different needs of all learners, so that they learn, grow and thrive together. Working towards this vision is critical for reducing the vast levels of inequality and discrimination currently faced by millions of persons across the globe. This is especially so for the millions of children with disabilities, many of whom struggle to receive even the most basic of educations.
The exclusion of learners with disabilities from education is due to many reasons, including inaccessible school facilities, a lack of assistive technologies, poor health, prejudice, discrimination and stigma. The interconnected and complex nature of achieving inclusive, quality education for all therefore requires stakeholders to break with siloed approaches and to work collaboratively across economic, social, cultural and protection sectors and domains.
Global progress in building inclusive education systems is now threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely disrupted the educations of most children, and has seen funds diverted away from the education sector. Despite this setback, governments and the global community are now in a unique position to learn from the pandemic and to renew efforts to improve education.