UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

12/11/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/11/2023 12:26

Building more inclusive societies requires filling the gaps for learners with disabilities

During this year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), UNESCO, in collaboration with Plan International, shed light on the intersection of gender inequality and disability, as a magnifier resulting in further education deprivation.

As mentioned by Geeta Davi Pradham, Head of gender and Inclusion at Plan International, emphasis should be put on tackling the root causes of exclusion as well as challenging and changing harmful gender norms.

There are also challenges measuring the impact of having a disability on education opportunities.

Education outcomes are normally shown by rich and poor, by girls or boys, rural or urban as well as persons with disabilities said Manos Antoninis, Director of Global Education Monitoring Report Team. The World Inequality Database on Education (WIDE) combines the data in one hub, visualising how wide disadvantages can grow when they intersect - comparing the poorest, rural girls against the richest, urban boys, for instance.

An analysis across cohorts based on census data from 19 countries suggested that males with disabilities have seen the slowest growth in primary and secondary completion and adult literacy added Manos.

Cross comparing disadvantages on the WIDE database shows that disability affects both genders severely and evenly across countries in secondary education.

"In Uganda, girls represent the biggest number of dropouts at secondary level. This is due to teenage pregnancies especially among girls with disabilities. And there is also the traditional belief that girls are meant to be married and don't need an education. Though other factors play a role in the dropout rate, we need to look at the gendered reasons," said Stuart Cyprian Higenyi, SDG4Youth member from Uganda.

"Joining tertiary institution especially for a student with a disability is a miracle if not a blessing. The rate of dropout from secondary coupled with the high rates of failure of the secondary leaving exams for people with disability makes it harder to access university education," added Stuart.

UNESCO works to remove barriers to education and eliminate all forms of discrimination in the learning environment to ensure that no one is left behind, in line with the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development