Inclusive Education Initiative Newsletter #8


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Transforming Education for Children with Disabilities
January, 2021 | Issue #8
Dear Members,

Happy new year! We hope you all had a strong finish to 2020 despite the many additional challenges it presented to us. With those challenges came opportunities and we have been continuously inspired by the work you are all doing to ensure disability-inclusive education. We are optimistic that 2021 will provide us with many insights into what has worked well, what needs to be tweaked, and what innovations are still necessary to ensure our learners with disabilities around the world are accessing their right to quality, inclusive education. The Inclusive Education Initiative (IEI) promised to do its part to ensure that we are making progress in this area and by sharing widely the work that you all are doing.
In our efforts to do this better, we have recently launched our highly anticipated website. This website is accessible and is a growing repository of various aspects of disability-inclusive education. As we work to make this your go-to website for this sector, we appreciate any and all feedback you have. We also want to grow the amount of content we host, so please send us documents to add so that others can learn from the work you have done and are doing. We also welcome you to reach out to us about blog posts and anything else you would like to see featured on this website.

As we ring the new year in, we want to thank all of you for your participation in the IEI Community of Practice. We have some exciting things planned for the near future and we want you to know about them as soon as they are ready. You can either email us at or join our LinkedIn Group and post questions directly there.
With best wishes,
The Inclusive Education Initiative Team
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International Day of Persons with Disabilities
International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3rd, is a day for championing the rights of persons with disabilities and to increase awareness of the challenges individuals face globally. There were a variety of events that took place to celebrate this important day and we want to share with you some of the ones we enjoyed participating in.
The World Bank’s Disability-Inclusive Development team hosted “Building a More Disability-Inclusive Accessible and Sustainable Post-COVID-19 World”. We had a range of leading voices on disability inclusion, including BBC presenter, Ade Adepitan (moderator); disability rights activist, Judy Heumann; musical guests, Amadou and Mariam; UN Under Secretary General, Ana Maria Menéndez; Director General of Norad, Bård Vegar Solhjell; the World Bank’s Global Disability Advisor, Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo; and many more.

A recording of the event plus more details can be found on our event webpage.
Conference of State Parties to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 13, 2006. The Conference of State Parties (COSP) takes place to consider matters with regard to the implementation of the present Convention. Many events took place during the week of November 30th through December 4th.
The IEI hosted a side event titled “Opportunities to strengthen disability-inclusive education: Promoting Inclusive Environments for the full implementation of the CRPD”. The recording can be found on the event page.

Our disability-inclusive development team also hosted another COSP side event titled “Amplifying the Voice and Spotlighting Visibility: Experiences of Women and Girls with Disabilities in the COVID-19 Response”. 
Education Cannot Wait hosted a Disability Inclusive Education Forum 
which explored the progress being made against previous global commitments and initiatives to educate persons with disabilities with a renewed focus on those furthest excluded.

Nurturing Care for Children with Developmental Delays and Disabilities

This global webinar which was co-organized by the Aga Khan Foundation, ECDAN, the LEGO Foundation, and UNICEF delved into the challenges, emerging research from Kenya, and practical country examples from Mozambique, Tajikistan, and Peru. The webinar highlighted how children with developmental delays and disabilities can have the best chance to not only survive but also thrive.

Rwanda’s The New Times, December 9, 2020
Furthering Accessibility for Learners with Disabilities

Center for Translational Neuroscience at the University of Oregon, December 17, 2020
Overloaded: Families with Children who have Special Needs are Bearing an Especially Heavy Weight, and Support is Needed

CNN, December 2, 2020
Millions of Children with Disabilities are Missing out on Education. Like me, they deserve to fulfill their potential. This opinion piece was written by Brina Maxino, Philipino woman with Down Syndrome who was also interviewed by the Global Education Monitoring Report.
Illustration of Inclusive Education . Image by: Julia Hayes
The Education and Development Forum (UKFIET, has a collection of resources on disability inclusive education as well as some really nice illustrations that visually show what inclusive education means.

In December, the World Bank published a Report:  Realizing the Future of Learning: From Learning Poverty to Learning for Everyone, Everywhere. This report reviews the current learning crisis, including the extent to which COVID-19 has exacerbated it, and then lays out a vision, policy priorities and some principles for education policy reform.

Here also a blog, from the World Bank: Shifting mindsets to support disability-inclusive education.


UNESCO recently hosted a symposium Ensuring the right to quality inclusive education for persons with disabilities: From commitment to action”. Please find a selection of resources related to the issues addressed during the symposium at the following link:


Human Rights Watch shares this piece, “Brazil: Education Risk for Children with Disabilities: New National Policy Encourages Segregation” to bring awareness to the presidential decree that undermines the rights of children with disabilities to quality, inclusive education. Also from Human Rights Watch is "Insisting on Inclusion: Institutionalization and Barriers to Education for Children with Disabilities in Kyrgyzstan" which documents how children are frequently denied quality, inclusive education.

2020 Latin America and the Caribbean Report - Inclusion and Education: All Means All
Prepared by the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, in partnership with the Regional Education Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago) and the Laboratory of Education Research and Innovation for Latin America and the Caribbean (SUMMA), the regional report on inclusion and education in Latin America and the Caribbean offers a deep dive into the core challenges and key solutions for greater inclusion, in a region characterized for having the largest and most challenging socio-economic inequalities in the world.
The reports is accompanied by a new online global platform, Profiles Enhancing Education Reviews (PEER), which contains a series of education profiles on laws and policies related to inclusion and education to facilitate peer learning and regional dialogue. Please also take a look at their past and upcoming events.

From Save the Children comes a recent study "The Hidden Impact of COVID-19 on Children and Families with Disabilities". An accompanying blog post outlines some findings from the report.

From the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials are the “Quality Indicators for the Provision of Accessible Educational Materials and Technologies” which describe the essential elements of a procurement system that ensures accessibility of materials and technologies for learners with disabilities, including compliance, guidelines, professional development, data procedures, and resources.


From the U.S. Government’s Accountability Office "Distance Learning: Challenges Providing Services to K-12 English Learners and Students with Disabilities during COVID-19".


From USAID, “Accessible to All: Creating Learning Materials for Children with Disabilities in Cambodia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tajikistan.

All Children Reading Grand Challenge creates global standards for sign language storybook production” in collaboration with RIT/NTID. The standards aim to spur on sign language storybook creation in more locations and sign languages to support inclusive education.

Photo: IEI
“Language Before Literacy” is a project of Deaf Child Worldwide, eKitabu, and Royal Dutch Kentalis that supports language acquisition and communication-first approaches for Deaf and hard of hearing children. They have recently launched their new website with many resources, blog posts, and initiatives on the topic! You can sign up for updates using this link.
Timothy Villegas from the Marlyand Coalition for Inclusive Education shares an interviews with disability rights activist, Emily Ladau, on Disability Rights are Human Rights from Think Inclusive.
Dan Mont and colleagues wrote “USAID Studies Explore Current Trends in Disability Inclusive Education in Sub-Saharan Africa” to review key findings from two recent studies: "Are We Fulfilling Our Promises? Inclusive Education in Sub-Saharan Africa" and “Tracking Inclusion: Data Sources on Inclusive Education in Sub-Saharan Africa"

Local Author from Missouri celebrated for her story of inclusion
Jerry Mindes share about “Ethics in Education: Do Global Results Frameworks Advance of Impede Progress Towards Inclusive Education Goals?”
Shagun Bajpal requests your input for a Questionnaire: Creating a Strategic Framework for Inclusive Education in India. Her objective is to capture possible variables leveraging the inclusivity and create a strategic framework for an inclusive education system in India.
The IEI Issues Paper, Pivoting to Inclusion: Leveraging Lessons from the COVID-19 Crisis for Learners with Disabilitiesis a resource for governments, implementation agencies, and multilateral agencies that provides guidance as education delivery is rethought and planned in response to COVID-19 and as schools reopen. The Issues Paper focuses on the following objectives:
  • Addressing education, social needs, barriers, and issues for learners with disabilities at a global, regional, and country-level during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Recommending practices for education and social inclusion, and reasonable accommodations utilizing the twin-track approach and principles of Universal Design for Learning.
Influencing education and social policy, planning, and response for persons with disabilities.

More information on the IEI  and this issues paper can be found here, including a recording of the global launch, our regional discussion with Nepal, key messages, our PowerPoint presentation, and PSAs from our very own “Jozi” on going back to school safely.
We want to hear from you!

Please share your disability-inclusive in education activities, success stories, upcoming events, and any other exciting resources. Please connect to our website: or send to 

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