The Price of Exclusion: Disability and Education - The Challenge of Inclusive Education in Sub-Saharan Africa


This report documents the challenge of achieving inclusive education in Africa. Primary school completion rates are 10 percentage points lower for girls with disabilities than for girls without disabilities. For boys, the disability gap in primary completion rates is 13 points. Gaps are also large for secondary education completion and children with disabilities are much more likely to never enroll in school at all. Across the board disability gaps have been steadily increasing over the last 20 years. Even when children with disabilities manage to remain in school, they perform on average less well on mathematics and reading tests. This is one of the reasons why only half of children with disabilities of primary school completion age can read and write, and only one in four complete secondary school. Multiple factors lead to disability gaps in education. According to teacher perceptions on the reasons why children drop out of school, lack of adequate infrastructure for children with disabilities is a major issue. In addition, among a dozen types of in-service training provided to teachers, training related to inclusive education is the least commonly provided. Finally, screening for disabilities in school remains very rare. In essence, children with disabilities are being left behind by efforts to improve education opportunities for all. Investing in the education of children with disabilities is required from a rights perspective , but it is also a smart investment. Indeed, apart from a wide range of other benefits from educational attainment, the labor market returns to education for individuals with disabilities are large and similar order to the returns observed for other individuals.

This note is part of a series on The Price of Exclusion: Disability and Education prepared as part of broader work program on children with disabilities that benefited from funding from USAID. Previous global work for this series benefited from support from the Global Partnership for Education. The series documents gaps in education outcomes between children with and without disabilities. It also showcases examples of programs and policies and lessons from the literature on how to improve inclusion in education systems.


Wodon,Quentin T.; Male,Chata; Montenegro,Claudio E.; Nayihouba,Kolobadia Ada.2018.

The Challenge of Inclusive Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (English). The price of exclusion : disability and education Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.


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