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Inclusive Education

Vibhu Sharma - Research Consultant for Disability and Inclusion, Theirworld

Photo credit: Global Business Coalition for Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls for equitable and inclusive quality education for all.  Yet over 100 million children around the world live with a disability – over 80% of them in developing countries. 

Within these countries, 40% of primary-age children with disabilities and 55% of secondary age children with disabilities are not in education – compared respectively, to just 12% and 26% of their peers. The lack of inclusiveness of education systems for children with disabilities significantly hinders the realistic achievement of SDG 4.

Despite these challenges, inclusive education policies and enabling environments are expanding access to learning to many young people with disabilities.  Moreover, the rapid proliferation and accessibility of low-cost technology is transforming the way in which young people, traditionally excluded from mainstream education, can now actively participate actively in learning through quality and safe schools. Yet the solutions and advancements tend to be restricted to certain populations and do not reach the most marginalized or create inclusive learning environments at scale.

Theirworld’s initiative on inclusive education is aimed at raising the profile of education for children and youth with disabilities and unlocking political will and financing to deliver large-scale solutions for inclusive education. A research initiative is reviewing the potential of assistive technologies to facilitate inclusive education systems and how these solutions can go to scale. And a disability brief is currently underway to identify how the business community can support education and inclusive employment opportunities for youth. 

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