Inclusive Education Initiative Newsletter #9


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Transforming Education for Children with Disabilities
Feburary  2021 | Issue #9
Dear Members,

We’re excited to be celebrating one year as a community of practice and we wouldn’t be here without you! In fact, we just hit 1,000 members in our LinkedIn group and we are beyond ecstatic to celebrate such a strong community focused on the progress of disability-inclusive education. We hope that all the resources we have shared over the course of the past year, as well as the conversations we’ve had, have provided you with new knowledge and understanding on disability-inclusive education. We are hoping to do even more in our second year to further ensure our community of practice is providing you with everything you need to be equipped to ensure learners with disabilities are included in the education systems we work in around the world.

In our efforts to better understand how we are doing and where we can continue to improve, we have developed a survey: that we would appreciate you participating in so we can continue to make this community of practice your go-to for asking about and contributing to the disability-inclusive education sector.

As a reminder, we have recently launched our website. This accessible website 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 welcome you to reach out to us about blog posts and anything else you would like to see featured on this website. You can either email us at or join our LinkedIn Group and post questions directly there.

With best wishes,
The Inclusive Education Initiative Team
On February 19th, 2020 the Zero Project Conference kicked off in Vienna, Austria. The Zero Project focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally. It provides a platform where the most innovative and effective solutions to problems that persons with disabilities face, are shared. Its sole objective is to assist in creating a world without barriers and last year its focus was on disability-inclusive education.
The World Bank’s Global Disability Advisor, Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, gave a keynote speech on the importance of disability-inclusive education. In this speech, she launched this Disability-Inclusive Education Community of Practice with the premise that we must all be working together to achieve our goal of seeing all children with disabilities realize their right to quality, inclusive education. Please find some photos and videos from the conference on their webpage and YouTube Channel.
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, the easy read version, and PSAs from our very own “Jozi” on going back to school safely.
On December 5th IEI hosted a COSP side event titled “Opportunities to strengthen disability-inclusive education: Promoting Inclusive Environments for the full implementation of the CRPD”. The side session engaged stakeholders in a discussion around the Inclusive Education Initiative- its overview, activities, and implementation. The session also engaged the audience in how education actors can be best supported to ensure that no child is left behind, especially during COVID-19. The recording can be found on the event page.
On December 17th, we launched our online knowledge repository that aims to be your go-to website for disability-inclusive education content, blogs, and events.
The Comparative & International Education Society’s (CIES) 65th Annual Meeting is coming up and registration is now open! This year’s theme is Social Responsibility Within Changing Contexts and will be held virtually from April 25th to May 2nd. If you become a member of CIES you can get a discounted rate on registration and you can join the Special Interest Group on Inclusive Education to get specific information on events focused on inclusive education.
USAID Education FY19 Data Brief: Disability Inclusive Programming 2019 Snapshot of USAID Activities in Education. The purpose of this brief is to summarize USAID education activities around the world that advance the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities. Education activities include those that support disability-inclusive education (including in crisis-and conflict-affected areas), disability-inclusive workforce development programming, and disability-inclusive higher education efforts. Content for this brief is pulled from Fiscal Year 2019 USAID mission reporting of Performance Plan and Report (PPR) indicators and narratives. For more information about USAID education sector reporting, including new supplemental indicators that complete the picture of reporting, please visit the Education Reporting Toolkit.
Also from USAID is the “Returning to Learning during Crisis” Toolkit which helps education planners plan and make key decisions on the return to learning during and after education disruptions caused by crises, such as COVID-19, in a way that is equitable, inclusive, and builds the resilience of education systems.
The bedrock of inclusion: why investing in the education workforce is critical to the delivery of SDG4. This report summarizes lessons and recommendations from a multi-country study undertaken on behalf of ActionAid, Education International and Light for the World. The study looked at the current state of play, and the realistic requirements for investing in an education workforce that can support disability inclusive education systems in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Investing in the education workforce is the bedrock of inclusion and critical to ensuring that all children, especially those with disabilities, enjoy their right to education. Well-trained and qualified teachers are at the forefront of this process, but they cannot work alone. Support from equally well-trained and qualified education leaders, administrators and support personnel (such as therapists, psychologists, community-based rehabilitation workers and specialists in braille and sign language) is key to an education system equipped to respond to children’s diverse learning needs. As such, whilst much of this research centers on teachers, acknowledging their fundamental role in the education process, a wider scope of analysis has allowed us to assess the extent to which the broader education workforce is currently equipped to include all children, especially those with disabilities, and deliver on SDG4.
The research included a combination of secondary data, including global and country-specific evidence on inclusive education, and primary data from key informant interviews in all five countries. This report starts with an introductory background which highlights key evidence from around the world that helped to shape the scope of the country studies. It then presents a series of lessons and recommendations consolidated from across the country studies. It also aims to highlight where the (often serious) gaps in knowledge and data hampered meeting the objectives of the country studies. The provision of quality, public disability-inclusive education involves system-wide change at all levels. However, some important issues were outside of the scope of the research project, such as strategies to address attitudinal barriers and discriminatory practices, and investments to improve access such as transport and accessible infrastructure. It is also important to note that the study focuses on public basic education and did not include the private education sector.
Making Reading Accessible: USAID Braille books provide children with the opportunity to read.

From Humanity & Inclusion: Education, girls, disability: HI committed to solve the equation of exclusion. Following a study conducted in 2019 in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, and on International Day of Education on 24th January 2021, Humanity & Inclusion alerts Sahel countries’ governments and international cooperations about the exclusion of girls with disabilities from school.
Children learning Indian Sign Language together at Child in Need Institute.
Children learning Indian Sign Language together at Child in Need Institute.
Deaf Child Worldwide
A recent blog from the Global Partnership for Education highlights Deaf Child Worldwide’s most recent report, “Unheard Children”, which shows what works best for deaf children’s. While many organizations and governments are working to strengthen inclusive education, and close the persistent gaps in education and living standards, these efforts need to be married to a more nuanced focus on the unique challenges that different groups of children, such as deaf children, experience.
Sightsavers.Voices from Sierra Leone: The real experiences of girls with disabilities at school
At the beginning of the project, participants noted that children with disabilities were often seen as a lost cause and were actively discouraged from attending school. By the end of the programme, all participants described children being treated with more kindness, understanding and respect.Through the Education for All project, Sightsavers and partners took practical steps, such as training teachers and physically adapting schools to make them more accessible.
Girls' Education Challenge. Good teaching is inclusive for all, so why focus on marginalised adolescent girls?
While there have been huge improvements in girls’ access to education in recent decades, girls still face the worst forms of acute exclusion in the world’s poorest countries and this is particularly the case for those with intersecting disadvantages in terms of poverty, displacement or disability. Furthermore, the current pandemic could mean an additional 11 million girls and young women never return to school. 
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