Better data is needed on disability in GPE partner countries to understand the extent to which children with disabilities are excluded from education, so that countries can make evidence-based and inclusive education policy and plans, and progress can be monitored globally. As part of its work helping to build robust education management information systems (EMIS), GPE has supported work on collecting better data on disability through school censuses. However, there are limitations on the extent to which EMIS can gather accurate data on individual children’s disabilities or on children who are out of school. Nationally representative household surveys and censuses that collect data on both education and disability using reliable and comparable methods are essential sources of information on the extent to which children with disabilities are in school and completing school.
This working paper assesses the availability of household surveys and censuses with disability data across GPE partner countries. The Washington Group on Disability Statistics (the Washington Group), developed two major standards for collecting disability data: the Washington Group Short Set on Functioning (WG-SS) and, together with UNICEF, the Child Functioning Module (CFM). Both are increasingly used across GPE partner countries.
During 2010–2020, at least 98 nationally representative surveys or censuses in GPE partner countries collected data on disability in some form. However, there remain 28 partner countries (out of 76) that do not have nationally representative, reliable and comparable survey or census data on disability that could be used for disaggregating education statistics. Furthermore, a mixture of WG-SS (26 countries) and CFM surveys (28 countries) have been conducted across GPE partner countries, and only a few countries have both, making it difficult to track progress across the partnership as a whole because of the differences in methods between these two approaches.
The report concludes with four key recommendations for GPE partners:
- Monitor disability data availability to raise awareness around the need for more and better data. This report and the underlying assessment of data availability represents a first step towards achieving this recommendation.
- Advocate for household surveys and censuses with a standard disability module such as the WG-SS or CFM, especially in those countries that do not have any nationally representative and comparable sources.
- Support work to produce globally comparable disability-disaggregated statistics including the analytical and conceptual work for making comparisons across the different modules that are currently in common use in GPE partner countries. This is needed for development partners to hold each other to account at the global level for progress on disability inclusion.
- Support citizen-led assessment organizations that are already collecting disability data in some countries and could provide an important complementary and nationally representative source of information – as well as play a role in holding governments and partners to account in making progress in including all children in education.
Download the working paper