Perspectives from GPE youth leaders on inclusive education and what actions world leaders need to take to improve the education of students with disabilities.
An inclusive development enthusiast and a youth with disability rights campaigner, Nir has been advocating for disability rights, particularly inclusive and quality education for children with disabilities, and has worked as a consultant on several inclusive education projects.
An advocate for guaranteed human rights for people with disabilities, Maria is also part of the UNDP youth advisory group in Guatemala. She is a core supporter of Miss Wheelchair Guatemala and believes in sport as a tool to create a better world.
An activist for women’s rights and people with disabilities in Honduras with Foro Dakar Honduras and FENAPAPEDISH, Amara co-founded Colectiva Mariposa 88 HN, an NGO for women with disabilities and their families. She is passionate about education.
What specific theme in inclusive education for young people with disabilities matters to you the most and why is it important? And what are the challenges?
The imperative of expanding access to inclusive education for young people with disabilities cannot be overstated. To materialize the concept of inclusive education, it is paramount to ensure an accessible and inclusive learning environment. The development and promotion of accessible teaching and learning materials as well as innovative methodologies play a pivotal role. The absence of accessible reading materials, teaching aids and appropriate instructional techniques unduly restricts the learning opportunities available to young people with disabilities. Teacher training in inclusive education is also key as educators serve as the cornerstone to students’ learning experiences, with great potential to steer an entire education system toward inclusive practices.
Comprehensive sexuality education, encompassing both knowledge and skills related to good health and well-being, is another essential component that deserves attention within the realm of inclusive education for students with disabilities. Unfortunately, this critical aspect often goes overlooked. The sexual and reproductive health of young individuals with disabilities as well as their autonomy and independence are frequently marginalized by families, schools and communities. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to acknowledge and address these vital themes when considering the inclusive education of young people with disabilities.”
In an inclusive educational system, recognizing diverse learning styles is imperative. For those with disabilities, tailoring reasonable adjustments to specific conditions is essential. These adaptations form the foundation for implementing universal design and accessibility measures, ensuring equal educational opportunities. Embracing special educational needs and accessible materials fosters dynamic, participatory learning experiences. Such an approach significantly enhances knowledge acquisition, fostering an environment where gender, ethnicity, or any distinguishing feature are not grounds for discrimination. Inclusive education is a commitment to leaving no one behind, promoting true equity in education.”
The ongoing exclusion of young people with disabilities is an undeniable barrier to guaranteeing inclusive education practices and spaces by providing accessible structures. This is a problem that affects all parts of life for youth with disabilities and stops their participation in society. In Honduras, most of the young people with disabilities don't have the opportunity to study and that affects their chances of finding a job to be autonomous and independent.”