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on Fri, March 8, 2013 at 09.14 pm

Global Meeting on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda


NOTE: All Background Materials of the Global Meeting are attached in the bottom

Global Thematic Consultation on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, 18-19 March 2013, Dakar, Senegal

Consultation process led by: UNESCO and UNICEF

Sponsoring Governments and organizations: Senegal, Canada (CIDA), Germany (BMZ) & The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Advisory Group Members:  CIDA, Education International, FAO, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – BMZ, Global Campaign for Education, GPE, ILO, INEE, ODI, OECD, UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women, Education First Youth Advisory Group and World Bank.

Expected Outcomes

  • Agreement on key recommendations on how education should be part of the overall post-2015 development framework, to be taken forward by decision-makers in the intergovernmental discussions over the next two years.
  • Complementing and building on the results of previous consultations and analysis, the Global Meeting will inform a Synthesis Report which will be submitted to the UNDG in March 2013 and which will inform the preparations for the UN General Assembly MDG Review Summit in September 2013.


As the 2015 target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, there are a growing number of processes, preparations and debates on what a post-2015 agenda[1] and framework will look like.  These are occurring both within and outside of the UN system.

In late 2011, the Secretary-General (SG) established the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda, co-chaired by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and UNDP. The main output of the task team was a “roadmap” on the post-2015 UN development agenda[2]. This paper helped to frame the work of the SG’s High Level Panel in charge of preparing the debate on the post-2015 development agenda at the high level summit to review progress on the MDGs and map out a forward looking agenda which will take place in conjunction with the 2013 UN General Assembly (GA).

Furthermore, the UN Development Group (UNDG) is facilitating a “global conversation” on post-2015 through a series of some 80 national, as well as regional, consultations and eleven global thematic consultations. Their aim is to bring together a broad range of stakeholders to review progress on the MDGs and to discuss the shape, scope and options for a new development framework. The thematic consultation on Education in the post-2015 Development Agenda[3] is co-lead by UNESCO and UNICEF.

The Global Education Consultation process

Considering the range of stakeholders and the cross-cutting nature of education, it is critical to engage all relevant parties throughout the process. This has been ensured through a series of face to face meetings with all stakeholder groups, including governments and local authorities; international and regional organizations and thematic platforms; the private sector; TVET institutions; NGOs, civil society and community-based organizations, and a dedicated inter-active web platform used for online consultations and information sharing.

Three of the four major components of the Education Consultation have already taken place:

  1. Regional consultations were held in the Arab region (Sharm el-Sheikh, 16-17 October 2012), Africa (Johannesburg, 16-20 October 2012), Latin America and the Caribbean (Mexico, 29-30 January 2013) and Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok, 26-27 February 2013). A side-event on education in the post-2015 development agenda was organized during the Global Education for All Meeting (Paris, 21-23 November 2012).
  2. A Global Consultation of Education NGOs during the Sixth Meeting of UNESCO’s Collective Consultation of NGOs on EFA –CCNGO/EFA[4] (Paris, France, 24-26 October 2012).
  3. A Global Online Consultation to engage youth and children, experts, academics, member states, donors, development partners and NGOs. The online consultation covered four themes: i) Equitable Access to Education (175 contributions); ii) Quality of Learning (171 contributions); iii) Global Citizenship, Skills and Jobs (135 contributions); iv) Governance and Financing of Education (57 contributions)  from 10 December 2013 to 3 March 2013

The Global Meeting in Dakar on 18-19 March 2013 is the culmination of this thematic consultation process and will build on the outcomes of these regional, NGO and online consultations. The aim is to review progress in education since 2000, identify emerging priorities and cross-cutting issues, and outline options for ensuring that education is effectively addressed in the new development framework after 2015.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for face-to-face dialogue among government representatives and other education stakeholders (ranging from civil society and youth to private sector, foundations and academics) in order to:

  1. Broadly agree on the remaining challenges for reaching the current education goals and overall lessons learned;
  2. Identify sectoral priorities that need to be reflected in the broader post-2015 development framework;

Identify options and modalities for reflecting these education priorities in the post-2015 development framework.

  1. These questions will be examined in plenary and group sessions and inform the Global Meeting report.

Bringing together around 75 education experts representing governments, UN, multilateral and bilateral organizations, civil society, NGOs, youth and the private sector, the aim is in particular to further engage all relevant stakeholders in the shaping of the post-2015 agenda and to engender ownership of the outcomes.




  • Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning
  • Gordon Brown, UN Secretary General's Special Envoy on Education
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf , President of Liberia




for Sustainable Development


[1] Unless specified otherwise, “post-2015 agenda” refers to the international development agenda in general

[2] Realizing the Future we Want for All, Report to the UN Secretary General. June, 2012. (

[3] UNESCO and UNICEF, November  2012, Global Thematic Consultation on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Final Concept Note ( )

[4] The CCNGO/EFA is a network of some 300 international, regional and national NGOs and EFA coalitions as well as women, youth and student NGOs. Its Coordination Group comprises the Global Campaign for Education, the International Association of Universities, four major regional EFA networks (ANCEFA, ASPBAE, CLADE and the Arab EFA Coalition), and two national EFA coalitions (FENU, Uganda, and CEFAN, Cameroun). The CCNGO/EFA is a global network of some 300 international, regional and national NGOs and EFA coalitions as well as women, youth and student NGOs. Its Coordination Group comprises the Global Campaign for Education, Education International, the four main regional EFA networks (ANCEFA, ASPBAE, CLADE and the Arab EFA Coalition), and two national EFA coalitions (FENU, Uganda, and CEFAN, Cameroun).



Please or to post a comment.
onetwo from United States of America
Sun, July 5, 2015 at 12.22 pm
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Lal Manavado undefinedAn analyst from Norway
Mon, May 18, 2015 at 12.19 pm
Can there be 'universal' educational goals?

I find it disquieting to see the approach to education so far seem to assume that the all educational goals are universal. Apart from two aspects of education, this is hardly the case.

The only rational universal aspects of education are that it ought to be available to everybody regardless of age, etc., and it should enable to receiver of education to understand the crucial importance of living in a way commensurable with one's cultural norms without entailing harm to the others and our common environment, and enabling one to do so.

These ways are generically different, and the choice should be left to those who receive education, otherwise, the oft-repeated cliche on one's right to one's own culture becomes a joke.

Moreover, 'methods of education' designed by the experts are without exception directed at producing employable young people. They become employable if and only if they meet the demands defined by modern commerce and industry. These definers have consistently deprecated the cultural values throughout the globe, and worse, have regarded the environment as a mere resource to be exploited ad libitum.

Further, the consumerism-profit driven modern economy manifests itself in current industry and commerce. It has succeeded in sequestering a huge proportion of world's total available resources into the hands of a very small minority, which they use/invest at their will. Thus, the small sliver of the cake available to the majority less as the world population rises. It is a great pity that we do not seem to want to admit that the current misery and injustice in the world stems mainly from our attitudes and values, and a considerable portion of those is moulded by the education we receive. Indeed, our attitudes and values manifest themselves as our keenness for highly paid jobs, hence the desire for an 'education' that would enable us to achieve that end. The pity here, is that it is this type of education that would inevitably lead to human misery and squalor for others.

I hope some voices may raised to uphold what was once taken for granted, viz., education is concerned with enabling one to become an independent and concerned human being, and not to enable a creature to become rich cost what it may.

Lal Manavado.
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Mon, May 18, 2015 at 11.04 am
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Thu, April 23, 2015 at 12.27 am
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Angel Jason from United States of America
Thu, April 16, 2015 at 01.17 pm
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Ameena Alrasheed Dr Ameena Al Rasheed UNDP from Bahrain
Mon, April 13, 2015 at 07.04 am
I think Befa hit the nailwith the main goals as sited in the contribution

1. Early childhood care and education –is significant to sustain a healthy education system and
Free and compulsory primary education should be the mile stone in all efforts that visions the education structure post 2015 with all children, particularly girls, children in urban and rural areas been given the chance for free education,
Adult literacy should improve now we were/are faced with issues of poverty that mingles our priorites a sustainable approach towards education is needed and urgently, and of course gender equality with all the synergies that we know,

education quality is one factor that goes hand in hand with the availablity of education and the free access all children should have, looking at curriculum developed and syllabuses would give us a chance to improve the current standard of education in many places
Let us work towards free and compulsary education for all, no child should be left behind...
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Gloria Bonder Director from Argentina
Fri, April 12, 2013 at 04.51 pm
Vivimos en un tiempo que demanda urgentemente una reforma muy profunda estructural de modelos y sistemas educativos. La expansion de uso de las TIC, su inclusion en las escuelas y en las vidas de estudiantes , los cambios en los procesos de trabajo, el acceso a la informacion y la produccion de conocimiento, entre muchos otros aspectos hacen indispensable repensar la educacion en todas sus dimensiones . De otro modo la inclusion de cuestiones relativas a la igualdad de genero,los derechos, son parches, o mejor diria " vino nuevo en odres viejos". Necesitamos aliarnos a sectores que estan revisando y transformando la educacion en su conjunto para desde alli generar nuevos paradigmas permeables realmente a la igualdad, la diversidad, la solidaridad, cooperacion entre los generos
Gloria Bonder Director from Argentina
Fri, April 12, 2013 at 04.51 pm
Vivimos en un tiempo que demanda urgentemente una reforma muy profunda estructural de modelos y sistemas educativos. La expansion de uso de las TIC, su inclusion en las escuelas y en las vidas de estudiantes , los cambios en los procesos de trabajo, el acceso a la informacion y la produccion de conocimiento, entre muchos otros aspectos hacen indispensable repensar la educacion en todas sus dimensiones . De otro modo la inclusion de cuestiones relativas a la igualdad de genero,los derechos, son parches, o mejor diria " vino nuevo en odres viejos". Necesitamos aliarnos a sectores que estan revisando y transformando la educacion en su conjunto para desde alli generar nuevos paradigmas permeables realmente a la igualdad, la diversidad, la solidaridad, cooperacion entre los generos
Ritella Moreno Ritella Moreno, Psicóloga, de Panamá from Panama
Tue, April 9, 2013 at 08.43 pm
El problema es que nos hemos quedado en el nivel primario de la educación, y este es precisamente la principal limitación de la educación inclusiva, misma que representa para la educación superior un gran obstáculo.
Los esfuerzos de los Estados, de los organismos internacionales como UNISEF, el movimiento asociativo y la sociedad en general, por incluir a los alumnos con discapacidad han sido persistentemente dirigidos hacia los niveles de educación inicial y primaria, y con algo de preocupación por el nivel secundario. Pero en lo que respecta a la educación superior o el nivel terciaria no se ha puesto un real énfasis en la inclusión de las personas con discapacidad. Incluso me atrevería a asegurar que casi nada de interés a este respecto.
Pero que se puede esperar si ya son deficientes los esfuerzos por incluir a los niños con discapacidad en el sistema regular de educación, que a duras penas estos pueden superar la primaria con pocas oportunidades para el ingreso a la secundaria y ni hablar a la universidad. Todo como consecuencia de la intolerancia, las barreras físicas pero las peores, las actitudinales que impiden el ingreso de las personas con discapacidad a la educación.
En alarmante el hecho de que aún se concibe la persona con discapacidad en carreras vocacionales, en los oficios para los que muestran habilidades o en fabricación o empaque de productos, confinándolos a desarrollar oficios menores o trabajos manuales.
No se tiene bien claro el hecho de que la Educación es para “Todos”, en derecho, calidad y dignidad. Por ello persiste la poca aceptación de esta población, ya que la sociedad se empeña en mantener la invisibilidad de las personas con discapacidad bajo el paragua de la “ESPECIALIDAD” seguimos pretendiendo mantener el paternalismo bajo la premisa de que las personas con discapacidad son merecedoras y necesitadas de atención especial, pero con una concepción totalmente equivocada de especialidad.
Continuamos creando leyes especiales para las personas con discapacidad, programas especiales, manuales especiales, escuelas especiales, atención especial; cuando lo que deberíamos es dejar de gastar energía en crear los espacios especiales y mirar el tema de discapacidad como eje transversal que cruza todo, y cuando me refiero a todo, es a TODOs los espacios del desarrollo de la personas, del individuo, incluyendo a la persona con discapacidad dentro de los planes, programas, proyectos, acciones sociales, políticas y económicas de los países. Es imprescindible que el tema de discapacidad se transversalice dentro de las políticas públicas y dentro de los planes de gobierno de cada país.
Ma'mura NASIROVA from
Mon, March 25, 2013 at 07.21 pm
On behalf of hicham filali []

I have something to say about education in rural areas in developping countries like Morocco. I just want to bring attention that retaining teachers and supporting quality education in these areas depend a great deal on teachers feeling and well being. I have already written some suggestions on that and shared them with some world organisation. The point most urgent is that teachers there must feel valued, so even letters of thanking or encouragement will work very well. Practically also is that giving privileges and connection to internet will help a lot. I know also that different countries have undertaken projects of motorbikes to rural teachers but unfortunately not in Morocco. My direct question what is the position of rural education in the general agenda of World We Want?
With much Regards
Envoyé via Nokia Cell Email
PhD candidate from New Zealand
Wed, March 20, 2013 at 09.41 pm
Transition from school to community life is socially equalizing as it presents challenges to both students with and without disabilities. Using traditional outcome measures such as employment, post-secondary education, or independent living, individuals with significant disability often demonstrate outcomes below their typically developing peers (NLTS2 Wagner et al., 2003). To assess under such criterion merely validates historical, medical classifications of individuals with disabilities as deficient, disabled, and disadvantaged (World Health Organization, 1980). Researchers such as Halpern (1985) offer broader conceptions of transition achievement to include outcomes such as access to material wellbeing, performance of adult roles, and personal fulfilment. These outcomes can be framed within theoretical constructs of social justice which call for all human beings to experience a dignified life (Nussbaum, 2006).
Nando Aidos Environmental Engineering from Portugal
Fri, March 22, 2013 at 01.03 pm
Please see the end of my reply to Lal. Thanks.
Nando Aidos Environmental Engineering from Portugal
Wed, March 20, 2013 at 11.20 am
Dear Participants,

the current world-wide employment, or rather, unemployment situation (chaos), is of great concern to all, and with good reason. It affects us all. Young, middle aged, old and disabled alike.

I would like to bring forward for considertion the following line thinking:

All education has been aimed at turning out good, well trained employees who will be able to work diligently for some employer.
Large company employment has been promoted as the solution to work opportunities for the masses.
I believe this model is reaching its outer boundaries of practicality.
What we need is to educate people to be entrepreneurs. Of all sizes, micro, mini, mid-sized entrepreneurs.

We need to develop, in every person, the know-how to make a living on his or her own. Either as an effective and profitable street vendor, as a respectable and profitable house builder, as a successful school teacher, medical professional, as a respectable independent professional, you name it.

I believe the world, just as forests need various types and sizes of vegetation, so society needs a variety of employment opportunities, a few large companies, many medium sized, an endless number of small enterprises, with every person a producer of some product or by-product that the rest of society will benefit from.

The world needs many more entrepreneurs and less emplyoees. And we need to form them in our schools, right from 1st grade. With all this we need to reshape all the services we want. Banking, insurance, health, education, government, politics.

Disabled people stand to benefit most from this approach as it does not place as many constraints on their mobility and personal comfort needs.

We need to create this world!
Lal Manavado Analyst from Norway
Wed, March 20, 2013 at 02.08 pm
I can't agree more

Since the second World War, education of children has been at the mercy of a wide variety of jargon jugglers. They put forward 'theories of education' which was accepted by many educational authorities, and received commercial support.

I must say that the first generation of those jargon jugglers were pretty articulate, not merely because they were figted, but because the education they received enabled them to do so. Now, the irony was that they advocated a complete change in that scheme of education, which disregarded the importance of cultivating children's ability to use a language with skill. This neglect of developing one's ability to express oneself well, has awful consequences for one's future well being.

I suppose some of those jargon jugglers were carried away by the rhetoic of the lumbering liberals, who envisaged a world populated by a hoard of -ists as the nearest they could get to a utopia of plenty and equality. In the meantime, the direct influence of traders in politics grew apace.

The result is what you have described; education is now seen as a pre-job training.

The vagaries of the pseudo-science, pedagogics has blighted many a young life by stymming one's abilities that are not directly concerned with getting a conventional job. Moreover, continued decline in people's linguistic abilities owing to various education 'reforms' has created an audience that could be easily duped even when written and spoken words of experts and leaders teem with self-contradiction, incoherence, irrelevance, and malapropisms of truly heroic stature.

Perversion of social values have induced some societies to regard a 'university education' as a universal goal for its children. This may have been a desirable end, had it not been tainted by a utilitarianism of the grossest kind.

I think authorities should reconsider the purpose of education, as you say, from the individual point of view. Language teaching should include training to detect and avoid not only grammatical errors, but also semantic ones. In addition to science and mathematics, pupils ought to learn about environment, culture and history. Above all, it is very important that they learn some basic Ethics, and acquire the courage to say something is rubbish when one can give reasons for saying so.

I have encountered incredible ignorance in universities, and the reason for it, I suspect, is that some people go to a university without quite knowing why.

Earlier, after one has completed basic education, one could become an apprentice to learn a trade for which one had an aptitude.

When visiting southern lands, those who live in the north wax poetic about the small bakeries, cafes, etc., in the south, while the legislation in their countries support barely hidden monopolies that own and control such trades in the north.

As education is re-formed with reference to individual needs, it is necessary to take steps to dismantle the giant trade concerns that monopolise trade in most countries. For instance, in Norway, food and groceries trade is owned by a single conglomerate of four of five chains, whom among them decide on what to sell and from whom to buy and at what price. Twenty years ago, customers were not under the control of one such conglomerate.

Once, education aimed to make man versatile, and let us hope we can go back to that ideal in spite of jargon jugglers of every ilk.


Lal Manavado.
Nando Aidos Environmental Engineering from Portugal
Fri, March 22, 2013 at 01.02 pm

Let me address a couple of your points, in fact, reinforce them.

Giant trade concerns - it would be great to be able to join the know-how of these enterprises, marketing, sales, product development, purchasing, finance, economics, etc, at the appropriate scale, to the initiative, creativity and "sheer guts" of the small shop owner. Most of these lack these very important skills because in school they did not learn them and to learn them they have to attend an MBA degree in some university, normally a financially non-feasible proposition. And so they remain small and vulnerable to the attacks and take-overs by the gradually growing conglomerates. The "mittlestand" disappears if it ever has a chance of developing. This is an area of education that sorely lacks and needs to start without delay (my thesis).

Education topics - I mention some above - marketing, sales, product development, purchasing, finance, economics - but there are others, such as organization behaviour, conflict management, ethics, social norms and common as well as company law, citizenship, the trade-offs between selfish opportunistic behaviour and cooperative, social-capital rich, participation in the economic (I sometimes hate to use this word as it is nothing - it is a measure of human activity - although the world seems to think that the "economy" is an entity with a life of its own). Languages, a local and an "international" language, history, but not the feats of chiefs and kings, but rather the history of human struggle, of its path from past to present. History is more about human struggle to achieve richness than it is about chiefs and kings glories. Geography, not the useless names of mountains and rivers, but the geography of agricultural regions, natural resources, environmental complexities, natural and manufactured means of transportation. Communications, everyone uses a cellphone and the newcomers need to learn to do useful things with them, instead of playing games and text-messaging the new boy/girl-friend.

The list goes on, but I can look back at my own experience as a recipient of standard education and quickly cast off enormous amounts of wastes of time, effort and motivation caused by useless learnings (such as dates when specific kings got married). These need to go! Who cares? The specialists, yes, but not the common folk. And how to handle my finances and bank account interest rates, needs to come in as soon as a child is capable of understanding percentages... or thereabouts. The considerations like these goon and on. And in a very pressing way in the world under development.

These thoughts, I believe, apply to ALL children, ALL students. Some will still be employees, scientists, at the employ of the large enterprises. No problem with that! But the majority, the overwhelming majority of the world population, will not get such a job, and we need to move them out of the wasteful and demotivating schooling that does not prepare them in the least for the life that faces them as they drop out, or are forced to drop out, or find it much more appealing to be a good quality self employed artisan, street vendor, or farmer. And these occupations need to be more valued by all... back to morals, ethics? Somewhere there.

As one takes into consideration what makes the disabled more self fulfilled and leading a more dignified life, I believe a radical change in our education programs is an absolute must.
Peter Mittler from United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Sun, March 17, 2013 at 11.42 am
The explicit commitment to ensure that people with disabilities are fully included in the post- 2015 MDGs makes it essential to collect data which enable governments to be held accountable not just to the UN monitoring bodies but to their own populations who are increasingly being empowered by the internet to mobilise public opinion through the internet – eg .

We have known for a long time that fewer than 5 per cent of girls and boys with disabilities are in primary schools in middle and low income countries and that UNESCO has estimated that they now account for one third of the 61 million children still not attending school. But we also know from pilot projects in some of these countries that inclusive education is possible when there is political will, local leadership and planned support for teachers, parents and pupils.

The EFA GMR draft document on the post 2015 MDGs includes a useful template for the collection of comprehensive data on the education of girls. We now need data which are disaggregated for disability, as well as gender, ethnicity, location and poverty, so that the interaction between them can become clear, as it has for gender. Some countries have provided estimates of the number of children who are ‘not expected ever to attend school’ but how many of these are children with disabilities whose rights to education are now upheld in international law?

Basic data on disabled children and youth now need to be included in the national household surveys being recommended by the UN and also being developed by UNICEF and the OECD. Each country needs to provide disaggregated data on numbers and percentages of disabled children who are in or out of school. These can form a baseline for the setting of year on year targets for their inclusion between 2015 and 2030. We also need data on measurable outcomes relevant to children with disabilities, including educational and other achievements to mid-secondary level and beyond, as well as drop- out rates and grade repetition.

Beyond this, there needs to be evidence of plans to provide access to school buildings and curriculum and a national programme to train and support teachers and health and community professionals across the board to meet the wider needs of children and youth with disabilities and their families.

Much of this is required by the reporting mechanisms of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ( but these could now be harmonised with the emerging MDG indicators to provide a powerful advocacy tool to the people most affected, as well as to the civil society to which they belong and from which they have been excluded until now.
Ronald Kasule from Uganda
Mon, March 18, 2013 at 11.38 am
Dear Chairperson,
Allow me to submit my contribution towards creating the world we want:

MA Education Planning, Economics and International Development (MA EPEID)
Institute of Education, University of London

Note: this is an excerpt from my on-going study to fulfil the academic requirements for the award of an MA EPEID 2013

The study topic is of great importance to the current consultations on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda:

“Examining the Effectiveness of International Standards and Frameworks in Responding to the Learning Needs of Learners with Disabilities: A Case of Uganda”

Will be glad to share findings at a later stage when an opportunity comes


Tel: +447933668306

1 CHAPTER TWO: Literature Review
…that persons with disabilities … have a right to education cannot now be disputed. (…), neither can it now be disputed that persons with disabilities … suffer from a pervasive and disproportionate denial of this right. (Muñoz 2007)

1.1 Introduction
The realisation of universal education has been of prime interest to the international community since the 1940s (Nyende. F, 2012). Bloom and Cohen (2002: 84) observe that universal education had been on the global agenda since the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed free and compulsory education to be a basic human right. The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by all but two of the world’s governments, reaffirmed this right as a legally binding obligation. From the 1990’s onwards further efforts were made to ensure that universal education takes shape, especially in the corners of the world where it had not been realised yet. In 1990, two global conferences — the Jomtien Conference and the World Summit for Children — set the target of universal primary education by the year 2000. By 2000, however, it was clear that progress had been too slow in too many countries for the target to be met (Delamonica et al. 2004: 3). This led to the setting of new targets during the Dakar Education Conference of 2000, which eventually influenced Millennium Development Goal 2 on universal primary education by 2015 (Maas 2012).

Unfortunately, quite a big proportion of children are still out of school. Research shows that at least one-third of the 72 million children currently missing out on primary education are estimated to be disabled (Lei P. & Myers J., 2011). Disabled people often referred to as the world’s largest minority, estimated to account for as many as one in five of the world’s poorest, but remain absent from most mainstream research, policies and planning (Elwan, 1999); disproportionately over-represented in the poorest of the poor (DFID, 2000; Yeo and Moore 2003), experience high rates of poverty and poor health; low educational achievements, and hence, few employment opportunities. The overarching question is: “How effective are the established international standards and frameworks in responding to the educational needs of children with disabilities?” This section digs through some of the available literature based on the sub-themes introduced in the research question, to identify a response.
1.2 Extent to which International Standards and Frameworks have influenced education provision for CWDs

Globally, education is now recognized as a basic human right: the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) clearly expresses the right of all children to a quality education (Article 28), and the responsibility of governments to ensure that disabled children also enjoy this right (Article 23) (Lei, P. and Myers, J., 2011). This has been underlined by the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which obligates governments to ensure an inclusive education system at all levels in order to realise disabled people’s right to education (Article 24) and stresses the importance of international cooperation ‘in support of national efforts for the realisation of the purpose and objectives of the … Convention’ (Article 32). Urwick and Elliott, (2010), highlight that the present generation of educators will be remembered as one which internationalised educational goals and tried to do the same for educational rights. The best known examples of these goals being the 2 and 3 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (UN, 2000), and the six EFA goals stated in the Dakar Framework for Action (UNESCO, 2000). Miles and Singal, (2010), observe that the opportunities presented by the EFA movement since 1990 have been unprecedented.

Lei and Myers, (2011) point out that the UNCRPD has provided the necessary legal framework for the promotion, protection and the full enjoyment of human rights and equality under the law by disabled people, including children. Miles and Singal, (2010) concur that the emergence of education as a rights issue, the realisation that education is central to developing economies, the growing disability movement, and a deeper realisation that education is essential for global tolerance have all provided a strong impetus for change. Both the EFA and inclusive education initiatives are evidence of this growing global concern (ibid). Barnes and Mercer, (2005) add that the adoption by the United Nations of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (UN 1993) marked an important milestone in the official international recognition of the need to address the social and economic exclusion of disabled people, and gives the basis to account why disability has moved up the development agenda. A prominent example of this is given by James D.Wolfensohn (2002) director of the World Bank:
Addressing disability is a significant part of reducing poverty. Bringing disabled people out of the corners and back alleys of society, and empowering them to thrive in the bustling centre of national life, will do much to improve the lives of many from among the poorest of the poor around the world (p. A25).

This statement is broadly representative of declarations from many other major international and national bodies concerned with development (Urwick and Elliott, 2010).

In recent years, developing countries have consistently shown a firm commitment to inclusive development in general and inclusive education in particular (Lei and Myers, 2011). This is most recently demonstrated through the signing and ratification of the UNCRPD by a number of states parties and through the affirmation by Ministers of Education and heads of delegation of 153 Member States at the 2008 UNESCO International Education Conference in Geneva of the fundamental role of inclusive quality education in achieving human, social and economic development:

We agreed that governments as well as all the other social actors have an important role in providing quality education for all and in doing so, should recognise the importance of a broadened concept of inclusive education that addresses the diverse needs of all learners and that is relevant, equitable and effective. (UNESCO 2008a)

Lei and Myers, (2011) undertook a review of the commitments and practices of key EFA Fast Track Initiative (FTI) donors in relation to early childhood and primary education for disabled children between 2005 and 2008/9. The review highlighted that policy commitments by individual donors to supporting education for disabled children had increased over the past four years. The most notable increase followed the adoption of the UNCRPD in 2006. All FTI donors reviewed, apart from Switzerland, were signatories of (or ‘committed to’) the UNCRPD: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK and others. Most donors also made reference to disability (usually under the banner of ‘inclusion for all’) in their education policy, and more broadly in development policies, thematic guidelines and/or notes. Some countries, such as the USA, had adopted mandatory policies requiring the inclusion of disabled people and disability issues in all development agency financed programming. Other countries, such as Norway, had developed guidelines to promote the inclusion of disability issues in their development activities. Denmark, Finland and Sweden had become well known internationally for their work on disability. Australia had recently launched a new inclusive development policy and the UK was working on a guidance note on inclusive education for disabled children for use by its country offices.

However, Lei and Myers, (2011) warn that the above achievements may not be enough to ignite cerebration globally for the recognition of the education right of children with disabilities. While much progress seems to have occurred particularly in countries of the North, there remains much to be desired in light of the fact that systematic and sustained action usually fails to follow commitment. For instance, while at first glance it may appear that there is evidence of action on the part of donors, closer analysis reveals that the action is piecemeal and scattered. Indeed, the review undertaken by Lei and Myers, (2011) found that USA was the only donor to demonstrate systematic and sustained action on education for disabled children. Moreover, action for inclusion must be supported by specific financial commitments to support inclusive strategies at both the international and national level (ibid).

Lei and Myers, (2011); and Barnes and Mercer, (2005) may have a point in recognising the legal framework initiated by the international standards, as an important milestone in the official international recognition of the need to address the social and economic exclusion of disabled people. In terms of having any impact on the lives of disabled people in developing countries however, it is more important to consider if such pronouncements, or the basic tenets of the Standard Rules, are reflected in the official policies adopted. Urwick and Elliott, (2010), further argue that even then, determining policy adoption is only a first step because policies are often either not put into practice or if they are, their implementation is ineffective. While the commitment continues to be reflected in some countries’ disability policies; overall, there has been a failure to establish national strategies for the inclusion of the disability dimension in development: in Denmark, there has been a decision not to make mainstreaming of disability a priority (Ulland 2003). Even in those countries with positive sounding policies what the human rights approach means in practice remains at best ambiguous (Urwick and Elliott, 2010).

Good disability policies are important, but little more than empty rhetoric unless they are effectively implemented (Urwick and Elliott, 2010). Unfortunately, with few exceptions, this is generally the case. One of the clearest examples is that of USAID which since 1996 has been trying to develop a more inclusive approach to disability issues. In its 1998 report on policy implementation it explained the key reasons behind the new policy initiative:

... needs of PWDs (people with disabilities) are the same as the needs of other constituencies with whom USAID works. Segregation of PWDs in USAID activities would tend to increase discrimination among our ranks and in the countries we serve. Consistent with our participation efforts, ..., programs must be constructed to include PWDs at all stages of implementation (USAID 1998: unpaged).

USAID (2000) as quoted by Urwick and Elliott, (2010), observes that efforts at promoting the USAID Disability Policy above had been disjointed and minimally effective. Strong words at the highest levels were reported to dissipate rapidly, and opportunities for personal contact with PWDs, while considered fruitful, had not been deemed a priority, and the reward structure did not exist to promote adherence to the policy. Examples that seem to run through development work, is the failure, despite stated intentions in some cases, to mainstream disability into development policy. Far more detailed research would be needed to confirm this, but evidence from the Finnish, Norwegian and US experiences are even close to representative (Denmark 2000). In the vast majority of cases when there is a disability focus it continues to be on the traditional areas of health or special education, relatively small scale projects funded through NGOs, and almost all undertaken with a social-welfare mindset (even if human rights language is used) rather than a meaningful human rights framework (Urwick and Elliott, 2010). If true, this means that, with very notable exceptions - mainly capacity-building projects run by NGOs - disability issues remain trapped within a special needs ghetto, the language of human rights remains empty rhetoric and the needs of disabled people for equality, dignity, social inclusion and poverty alleviation remain unfulfilled (ibid).

Urwick and Elliott, (2010) sampled the World Bank website and confirmed that in almost all PRSPs, there was either no mention of disability, if it were mentioned the reference was to ‘the disabled’ within a list of vulnerable groups and/or to either social welfare or health. The failings of PRSPs to include disability were also echoed in a 2002 baseline assessment of the World Bank’s activities relating to disability which concluded that:

Based on the sampling from this study, few of the current activities of the World Bank include disability in any meaningful way (Stienstra et al. 2002: unpaged).

Perhaps this should not come as a surprise when overall PRSP implementation has been seriously flawed, particularly in terms of human rights (UN 2001), and poverty reduction has been minimal (Oxfam 2004).

In summary, the theme of this paper in this section compares well with a question: “Is disability really on the official development agenda?” Urwick and Elliott, (2010) respond that if by this we meant to know whether the main players were talking about the issues, then the answers would be ‘some of them’ and ‘sort of ’. If, however, we were concerned about real changes being put in motion, even with a small percentage of the degree of the commitment given to gender - another major cross-cutting issue in development - the most optimistic answer would be ‘not yet’. In fact, disability still does not figure as an official cross-cutting issue for any national development agency (Yeo and Moore 2003). The experience of gender indicates how far there is to go, for despite the strong policy commitment of almost all development agencies on gender, a great deal remains to be done and this commitment has not been followed through in the poorest countries with respect to the new international aid instruments (Urwick and Elliott, 2010).

1.3 Dilemmas and Challenges in Creating Education Opportunities for Children with Disabilities.

1.3.1 CWDs outside Mainstream Educational Circles.
The exploration of the history of the international Education for All (EFA) programme discloses its tendency to overlook some marginalised groups of children, in particular those seen as having ‘special educational needs’ or impairments and disabilities (Miles and Singal, 2010). This exclusion from ‘mainstream’ education programmes of the estimated, though unreliable, figures of 90 or 98% of children in Southern countries has, until relatively recently, been largely unchallenged (ibid). The explanation lies in the still prevalent view that some children are ‘ineducable’ and that overcrowded and under-resourced schools would not be able to cope. Consequently, a largely parallel, international debate has developed about ‘inclusive education’, within which many conflicting positions exist. Miles and Singal, (2010) suggest that there is an unhelpful and wasteful polarisation between EFA and inclusive education; although inclusive education is defined by some writers in terms of overcoming barriers to learning and development for all children, in the context of Southern countries it tends to fill the gap left by EFA and so focuses almost exclusively on disabled children (ibid), and for that reason there is a temptation to view it as a specialist programme.

Miles and Singal, (2010) present a scenario which help to illuminate the history, and continued dominance, of ‘separate thinking’ about disability. Research shows that in some countries responsibility for disabled children does not lie with the Ministry of Education, but in Health or Social Welfare, because of the attitude that some children are ‘ineducable’ (Booth and Ainscow 1999; Miles and Singal, 2010). By implication, disabled children are not considered to be part of humanity (Miles and Singal, 2010). Indeed, it was only 35 years ago that responsibility for the education of all children, including those with intellectual impairments, was taken over by the UK equivalent of the Ministry of Education (Mittler 2002). It is hardly surprising that the EFA movement and many large international non-governmental organisations have been influenced by this way of thinking and so tend to treat this group of children separately.
1.3.2 Donor Commitments and Action on Inclusive Education for CWDs
The Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI) was established in 2002 as ‘a new compact for the education sector that explicitly links increased donor support for primary education to recipient countries’ policy performance and accountability for results’ (FTI 2004, 3). The initiative aims to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development and Education for All goal of universal primary education (UPE) by 2015 (FTI, 2004; Lei and Myers, 2011). It is a partnership of 40 low-income partner countries and 32 bilateral, regional and international donor agencies and development banks who have committed to ensure that no country with a ‘credible education plan’ to achieve the 2015 goals should fail through a lack of external financing (FTI 2004). However, a recent report by World Vision UK (2007) highlighted the failure of the FTI Partnership, and its constituent partners, to respond sufficiently to the challenge of ensuring inclusive education provision for disabled children of primary school age.
A review of the commitments and practices of key EFA Fast Track Initiative (FTI) undertaken by Lei and Myers, (2011) between 2005 and 2008/9 highlighted however, that the problem was not that donors were doing nothing, so much as they were neither coordinated nor able to demonstrate consistent and/or deliberate attention to the rights of disabled children in relation to education. The two challenges were cited by donors interviewed during the review were: adherence to the Paris aid-effectiveness principle of ‘country ownership’, and the lack of tools/guidance demonstrating how best to support inclusive education for disabled children.
Lei and Myers, (2011) point out that donors spoken to during the course of the review argued that the Sector Wide Approach and the Paris Agenda meant that it was no longer appropriate or possible for them to monitor the allocation of funds to support disabled children, and repeatedly stated that although broad policy statements could be made, donors could only support inclusive early childhood and primary education for disabled children on a case-by-case basis, depending on a country’s priorities and in the context of their education sector plan. In relation to the tools for inclusion, Lei and Myers, (2011) observe that they were many. However, Booth and Dyssegaard, (2008) argue that majority of materials fail to adequately link the development of inclusive educational settings ‘with the constraints and opportunities provided by national policy and funding frameworks’ and vice versa. The World Vision, (2007) report ‘Education’s Missing Millions’ had also recognised this disconnect between policy and implementation.
In a related development, Lei and Myers, (2011) report that donors often regarded disability primarily as a social development issue and it was often not mainstreamed through policy dialogue and all sector programme support, including education. However, the review undertaken found that where there was mainstreaming of disability across development policy, there was lack of ownership and thus, a lack of progression of support for disability issues. Across donors, where the strategy of mainstreaming was employed, responsibility for the education of disabled children among individual donor agencies was unclear and incoherent, which had further compromised their ability to provide data and information for the review. In part, this failure of mainstreaming approaches to effectively address issues of disability and education results from a disconnect between action to support education for disabled children and action to support education for other groups of children marginalised in and from education (Lei and Myers, 2011).

1.3.3 The narrowing of the Education for All agenda
The International efforts to promote EFA intensified following the 1st World Conference on Education for All held in Jomtien, Thailand, in 1990. This conference was particularly significant because it acknowledged that large numbers of vulnerable and marginalised groups of learners were excluded from education systems worldwide. It also presented a vision of education as a much broader concept than schooling, beginning with early childhood, emphasising women’s literacy and recognising the importance of basic literacy skills as part of lifelong learning. This was, according to Miles and Singal, (2010), a landmark conference in the development of thinking about inclusive education (even though the concept of inclusive education was not used at that juncture).

Progress towards achieving EFA was reviewed at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, in 2000 and the following key challenge was identified:
to ensure that the broad vision of Education for All as an inclusive concept is reflected in national government and funding agency policies. Education for All … must take account of the need of the poor and the most disadvantaged, including working children, remote rural dwellers and nomads, and ethnic and linguistic minorities, children, young people and adults affected by conflict, HIV/AIDS, hunger and poor health; and those with special learning needs …. (UNESCO 2000, expanded commentary on the Dakar Framework for Action, para. 19)
The broad vision of EFA lives on in the six EFA goals which are now articulated as follows: to expand early childhood care and education; provide free and compulsory primary education for all; promote learning and life skills for young people and adults; increase adult literacy by 50 percent; achieve gender equality by 2015; and improve the quality of education (UNESCO 2000). The commitment to EFA was reiterated in the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) developed by the international community (United Nations 2000). The MDGs are seen as part of a broader commitment towards building a better world in the 21st century by eliminating global poverty, promoting gender equality, education and environmental sustainability. The importance of education as a strategy in poverty reduction is made explicit in these international targets which seek to end the vicious cycle of exclusion from education leading to chronic poverty and further social exclusion (Miles and Singal, 2010).
It is therefore a matter of great concern that the international EFA agenda has become increasingly focused on the second MDG, ‘ensuring that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015’ or Universal Primary Education (UPE). The rhetoric of “educating all” has gradually been reduced to a narrow focus on five years of compulsory schooling. The narrowing of the initial EFA goals to the completion of five years of primary schooling is a worrying trend in the context of developing economies.

1.3.4 Disability overlooked
Although the initial vision of ‘EFA by the year 2000’ was extremely broad and ambitious, the rhetoric of ‘all’ has overlooked the issue of disability and failed to reach the poorest and most disadvantaged children, especially in those countries which are unlikely to achieve the second MDG by 2015 (Miles and Singal, 2010). There is evidence of the continued exclusion of disabled children from the international agenda and planning; for instance, the failure of UNESCO’s EFA Global Monitoring Reports to address the education (or lack of it) for disabled children (ibid). These reports do not engage in any great depth with the educational status of disabled children, yet other ‘at risk’ groups, such as girls, have been part of more mainstream efforts. Although not a homogenous group, disabled children tend to be identified internationally as a group of children who are disproportionately excluded from education (Mittler 2005). It is often claimed that disabled children are among the poorest and the most disadvantaged in their communities, and that they have been systematically excluded from more ‘mainstream’ EFA efforts (Savolainen, Matero, and Kokkala 2006; Rieser 2005). Some have justified the need for a narrow focus on the education of children with disabilities to enable stronger advocacy at the national and international level for a group of people whose needs have largely been ignored by mainstream development programmes, such as EFA initiatives (Miles and Singal, 2010).
The EFA flagship, ‘the right to education for persons with disabilities: towards inclusion’ was established in 2002 as a result of such concerns (UNESCO 2004). The aim of such flagships was to promote knowledge sharing and global partnerships. And indeed it has taken on the responsibility of ensuring that disabled learners are included in national EFA action plans. While it is argued that the creation of this flagship will help to raise awareness of the rights of disabled children to be included in EFA, there is a danger that disability could become further separated from more mainstream debates, and perceived as an issue for ‘specialists’(Miles and Singal, 2010. The result could be continued exclusion and neglect of disabled people from policy and practice. By the same token, the flagship’s campaign for disabled children’s broader right to education (rather than inclusive education) reinforces the notion of a right to a range of provision, which includes segregated special schools – an issue which receives little attention in EFA and UPE debates.

1.3.5 A Focus on Statistics
The fact that there is no data is a major part of the problem – if you don’t have the information then you can’t state the problem clearly. We need to know the size of the problem – what then are the options for interventions and how costly are they?
(Donor representative, pers. Comm.; in Lei and Myers, (2011))

Data concerning the prevalence of disability are notoriously scarce and those which do exist are most often of poor quality and based on differing classifications, definitions and characterisations of disability (Eide and Loeb, 2005; Lei and Myers, 2011; UNICEF, 2007). The most cited global estimate of disability was published by the World Health Organisation in 1976 and puts the prevalence of disability at 10% of the world population (Helander, 1993; UNESCO, 2007). This has resulted in a widely used figure of approximately 650 million disabled people worldwide, around a third of whom are children and 80% of whom live in developing countries (Lei and Myers, 2011). The absence of reliable data regarding disabled children is problematic and largely relates to the enormous challenge of standardising definitions of disability across cultures, and of collecting any form of reliable data in many countries, especially those affected by conflict. In addition, measures of disability prevalence also fail to recognise the socially constructed dimensions of disability (ibid). This more recent understanding of ‘disability’ has led to recognition that both quantitative and qualitative approaches to measuring the prevalence of impairments and their impacts on a person’s ability to function and participate in his or her environment should be used to inform disability statistics and, ultimately, social policy and planning (Jeffery and Singal, 2008; Lei and Myers, 2011).

Despite these question marks over statistics, many agree that disability is not a minority issue, particularly in relation to the EFA and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (Eide and Loeb, 2005; Lei and Myers, 2011; UNESCO, 2007; UNICEF, 2007). The EFA Monitoring Report estimates that only 10 percent of disabled children are in school and that one-third of the 77 million (6–11-year-old) children currently out of school have a disability (UNESCO 2007). In a World Bank publication, Peters (2003, 12) asserts that ‘40 million of the estimated 115 million children out of school have disabilities’ and that ‘children with disabilities are likely to have never attended school’ and ‘fewer than 5 percent are believed to reach the goal of primary school completion’. In Africa, less than 10% of disabled children attend primary school (UNESCO 2006, 2010). Disabled girls suffer disproportionately: literacy rates for disabled women are 1%, as compared to an estimate of about 3% for disabled people as a whole (Muñoz 2007, 6). When one considers that these figures are potentially all underestimates given the invisibility of disabled people in many formal population surveys upon which they are based, they have profound significance with respect to achieving the MDG and EFA goals. They speak starkly of the systematic and profound experience of exclusion faced by disabled children on a daily basis in low-income countries and ask important questions of the focus of current international efforts to achieve the MDGs and EFA goals by 2015 (Lei and Myers, 2011). As long as the majority of disabled children continue to be excluded from education, the second MDG and the wider goals of EFA will not be achievable in the near future (Peters 2003).

1.3.6 Conceptual Challenges
In EFA there has been insufficient scrutiny of the two central concepts of ‘education’ and ‘all’. Although the EFA Framework recognises that ‘the main delivery system for the basic education of children outside the family is primary schooling’, it also states that supplementary and alternative programmes can help meet the basic learning needs of children with limited or no access to formal schooling. This is an interesting caveat which has resulted in the proliferation of multiple systems across many countries. The quality of education provided in these alternative systems however, is highly questionable (Taneja 2001; Nambissan 2000; Dreze and Sen 1995; Juneja 1997; Shukla 1986).

These alternative systems were intended to be developed as a temporary stopgap or a last resort (Berntsen 1995), yet they have become recognised parallel systems of education. Children who are regarded as ‘weak’ academically tend to be pushed out of the mainstream system into special institutions (Jha, 2002), without any acknowledgement of the exclusionary practices and reduced life opportunities associated with this approach. In a recent analysis of 17 EFA plans from the South and South East Asia region, Ahuja (2005) concluded that inclusive education was not even mentioned. In fact, special schools and residential hostels were put forward as a strategy for meeting the needs of a wide range of disadvantaged students, and non-formal education was seen as a solution to the educational needs of marginalised groups. This is a worrying trend especially given the negative effects of institutionalisation, especially on vulnerable groups of children in under-resourced contexts (United Nations 2005). Porter, (2005) as quoted in Lei, P. And Myers, J., (2011), observe further:

It is difficult to reconcile an education system based on exclusion and segregation with democratic, economic and social goals … [with a segregated system] there is a human and relationship loss which affects people with disabilities throughout their lives, and one which spreads to families, peers, and the entire community. (Porter, (2001) in Lei, P and Myers, J., (2011: 1172))

1.3.7 Disability Factor
Recent studies in Southern countries have highlighted the fact that inclusive education is primarily understood as being about disabled children. Singal (2004) noted that inclusive education, though a part of the Indian government’s policy rhetoric, was focused solely on providing education for disabled children. Mainstream teachers in Zambia who participated in an action research project began with the assumption that inclusive education only concerned children identified as having special needs or disabilities, and that these children were the sole responsibility of specialist teachers (Miles et al. 2003). There are considerable pressures to regard the educational concerns of disabled children as being separate from, and different to, the concerns highlighted in the broader education system. The focus then is on setting up special classrooms; special schools and/ or rehabilitation centres, which still cannot accommodate the large numbers of out-of school disabled children. Nor can this specialist approach address the large numbers of children overlooked within existing classrooms who struggle to learn and tend to fail exams and repeat whole school years at great cost to their families (Miles and Singal, 2010).

Although very little research has been done in this area, findings emerging from Southern countries indicate that special schools tend to be unregulated and of poor quality. They are often a watered down form of schooling for the small minority of disabled children who attend them. Yet the number of special schools has doubled recently in India (Singal 2006), despite the government’s commitment to inclusive education. A study of 15 special schools was recently carried out in Uganda in order to ‘develop proposals for the existing and new special schools to meet basic requirements and minimum standards’ (Kristensen et al. 2006, 139). This was in response to a government report which concluded that special schools did not meet minimum standards. This study needs to be seen in the context of Uganda’s progressive rights-based legislation on education, including a policy of positive discrimination in primary education towards girls, and towards disabled girls and boys since 1996 (Ndeezi, 2000).

Government commitment, therefore, to providing education for all children, as far as possible in an inclusive system, is considerable. Nevertheless Kristensen et al. (2006, 139) found that the quality of education and educational materials in the special schools was poor, and children were often ‘admitted to special schools without proper assessment of their educational needs and the resources were not available to provide them with an appropriate range of experiences’. The study highlights the lack of ‘specialist’ expertise and resources in so-called ‘special’ schools; yet it strongly recommends that deaf children and others with ‘severe’ disabilities should continue to be educated in special schools – with improved facilities (added italics), alongside the government’s commendable policy of inclusive education. The authors do not state whether it is feasible for Uganda to build and adequately equip enough special schools for all its deaf children, or for those with ‘severe’ disabilities.

2.4 Possibilities and Opportunities to Guarantee the Educational Rights of CWDs

2.4.1 Promote Inclusive Education as an Approach to Quality EFA

Miles and Singal, (2010) observe that there has been a shift in EFA from the original focus of ‘access’, to more recent concerns about quality and completion. By focusing on individual groupings however, such as disabled children, rather than examining the system as a whole, there comes the risk of reinforcing existing dichotomies between access to learning opportunities (quantity) and knowledge acquisition or competence development (quality) (ibid). These authors argued that it was only by examining those as central issues when undertaking radical reforms of education systems that programmes could respond to the needs and concerns of a new global era.

Booth and Dyssegaard (2008) and Lei and Myers, (2011) observe that inclusive education is critical to current debates on quality and learning outcomes. According to Booth and Dyssegaard (2008), sustainable quality education can only take place within an inclusive, participative process of educational planning and implementation linked to inclusive values and rights. Booth and Dyssegaard (2008) further argue that relating values to action is among the most practical moves that one could make in education, since values provide a sense of direction and help to determine the next step. Ainscow and Miles, (2008: 20) highlight that mainstreaming disability through education involves ‘increasing the participation of all students in, and reducing their exclusion from, the curricula, cultures and communities of local schools’; reorienting school practices, cultures and policies to better respond to all learner diversity; ensuring that all students, including those vulnerable to any exclusionary factor, are present, participating and achieving. As such, Booth and Dyssegaard (2008) conclude that the concept of inclusive education provides the international community with values which, when implemented, lead to quality education – values which promote participation, oppose all forms of discrimination and provide a clear way forward to achieving the EFA and MDG targets.

From a Northern perspective, the challenge of educating all children, including those identified as having disabilities, in the context of income poor countries can seem impossible (Miles and Singal, 2010). Education is, however, a much broader concept than the acquisition of skills. Inclusive education aims to promote democratic principles and a set of values and beliefs relating to equality and social justice so that all children can participate in teaching and learning (Booth and Dyssegaard, 2008; Miles and Singal, 2010; Lei and Myers, 2011). Through its championing of marginalised groups, inclusive education has the potential to promote such values and beliefs, and so has a great deal to offer the current EFA debate (Booth and Dyssegaard, 2008). Inclusive education offers an opportunity for EFA to begin to make distinctions between ‘moral’ and ‘mechanical’ reforms. A commitment to providing education for all children is not about ‘bums on seats’, but about revisiting our conceptions about schooling and the purpose of education (Miles and Singal, 2010). It is an opportunity to engage in debates which are otherwise seen as being the prerogative of philosophers (ibid).
The coming together of EFA and inclusive education raises some fundamental questions, such as ‘What is the role of education?’ Is the primary task of education to develop a literate and numerate individual with economically relevant attributes as put forward in the human capital approach and in the educational policies of many governments across the globe? Or are the ‘core educational values’ shaped by a range of other social and human development outcomes of education that concentrate on the ‘enhancement of human lives and freedoms’ as argued by Sen (1999).
Radical changes are required in education systems, and in the values and principles of the people involved in delivering education, if the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children are to gain access to their local school. Singal (2004) has argued that inclusive education is not only about addressing issues of input (for example, access), and those related to processes (for example, teacher training), rather inclusion involves a shift in underlying values and beliefs held across the system. As these values and beliefs are reflected in the policies framed (at the national, school and classroom level) and the education systems built. In short, inclusive education provides the international community with a blueprint for quality education (Singal, 2004; Booth and Dyssegaard, 2008; Miles and Singal, 2010; Lei and Myers, 2011)

2.4.2 Donor Commitments and Action on Inclusive Education
Though a recent review of the FTI highlighted key challenges to a successful acceleration of progress towards the Education for All (EFA) goals, Lei and Myers, (2011) believe it is not beyond repair and that it remains an important foundation from which to develop a renewed and revitalised global partnership that could truly deliver EFA. Chief among the reforms suggested to amend the initiative include: the de-linking of the partnership from World Bank processes; improved accountability systems; more equitable governance structures; increased flexibility; expanded scope to address the full EFA agenda; and a greater focus on issues of equity, quality and inclusion in education (ibid).

Given the importance of data in planning and financing for inclusion, Lei and Myers, (2011) advise that the FTI donor partners should support the March 2009 proposal by the FTI Secretariat on ‘Reaching Out-of-School Children,’ which proposes that FTI partners, along with international agencies that focus on data collection, prepare and implement cross-national coordinated plans to improve data collection on out-of-school children. The proposal also urges FTI partners to ‘encourage and highlight … the urgency of obtaining accurate data on out-of-school children’ through dialogue and forums (FTI Secretariat 2009, v). Support for these recommendations, followed by action to put them into practice, will go a long way towards showing that there is political will to address the issue of education for disabled children among the donor community (Lei and Myers, 2011). Furthermore, FTI donor partners should push for indicators on the inclusion of children with disabilities in education to be part of the FTI’s elaborated Progressive Framework and the proposed results-focused monitoring and evaluation framework in order to catalyse greater attention to disaggregated data on those excluded from education at country level (ibid).

In addition, support is needed to adopt the FTI Equity and Inclusion Tool in development and education planning which could serve to aid FTI donor partners in their policy dialogue on inclusive education at country level (Lei and Myers, 2011). The tool aims to support ministries of education and other stakeholders to develop strategic thinking and decision-making around appropriate evidence-based interventions to address inequity and exclusion and include these in education sector plans (ibid). Lei and Myers, (2011) further report that this tool considers equity and inclusion issues in terms of education statistics; social and economic barriers; enabling policies and effective strategies; institutional capacity and management; school level practices and support; parental and community participation; teacher preparation, supervision and support, the curriculum and monitoring and evaluation. The tool also makes reference to specific policy and planning considerations necessary to support the inclusion of disabled children in the education mainstream; and as such, FTI donor partners should actively support and advocate for its development and use both the development and appraisal of education sector plans submitted to the FTI, particularly as the FTI proposal on ‘Reaching Out-of-School Children’ is considered and shaped (ibid). While Booth and Dyssegard, (2008: 42) suggest that examining existing materials on inclusive education in order to inform ‘the detailed work that needs to take place in order to translate centrally produced policies into local practice; Lei and Myers, (2011) maintain that preparation of an implementation guide in order to translate policies and plans into inclusive practice at local level is also a strategy which donor partners could pursue through the FTI Partnership.

2.4.3 Need to Explore Localised Conceptual Understandings
Thinking more deeply about the concept of ‘all’ can enable policy makers and practitioners to explore existing opportunities within country contexts, rather than looking for technological solutions from outside these contexts (Miles and Singal, 2010). Developing local understandings of the complex concepts of ‘education’, ‘all’ and ‘inclusion’ is critical to the development of appropriate and sustainable policies on teaching and learning. South–South collaboration is essential in the ongoing development of innovative and culturally and contextually appropriate education policies and practices (ibid). The eighth Millennium Development Goal is arguably the most crucial of the Millennium Development Goals as it challenges the international community to establish a global partnership to make the goals a reality, and North–South and South–South collaboration is central to the achievement of this goal (Miles and Singal, 2010). Establishing dialogue between policy makers and practitioners both within and between countries facing similar challenges can be beneficial as they work towards the common goal of providing meaningful, quality education for all children. The extent to which more inclusive educational practices are promoted at country level, however, will depend on the development of a clear understanding of the concept of ‘inclusive education’ in the cultural contexts in which it is being developed (Miles and Singal, 2010).

2.4.4 Promoting a “Twin-Truck” Approach to Disability
Miles and Singal, (2010) believes that the inclusive education debate has undoubtedly helped to raise concerns about disabled children in international fora. However it has also highlighted the many dilemmas and tensions which result when disability is seen as a separate issue. Disabled children are not a homogeneous group and as a result, they may identify more strongly with other aspects of their overall identity, inter alia; their gender, economic status, and ethnicity. Belonging to one or more of these groupings significantly increases their vulnerability. Unfortunately, efforts aimed at children with disabilities do not take account of such inter-sectionalities and multi-vulnerabilities (Miles and Singal, 2010). Disability should be recognised as one of many issues of difference and discrimination, rather than as an issue on its own, and broader developmental efforts should take account of the multidimensionality of such differences. An inability to see disability as part of the human condition tends to mean that disabled people are overlooked. This was evident in post-tsunami relief efforts where Kett, Stubbs, and Yeo (2005, 10) observed that:

...the disability sector operated within a ‘cocoon’ and didn’t really engage with important mainstream development issues. Networking and collaboration tended to suffer from ‘vertical dominance’ with poor communities remaining largely ‘out of the loop’ (Kett, Stubbs, and Yeo, 2005: 10).

This resulted in the continued chasm where the needs of disabled people remained outside mainstream concerns, primarily due to their inability or reluctance to engage with mainstream efforts, and on the other hand, the inability or ignorance of mainstream efforts to incorporate disability-related needs within their work.

While many in the field argue that there needs to be a focus on ‘all’, there is arguably still a need for a particular focus on disability issues – sometimes called a ‘twin-track’ approach (Miles and Singal, 2010). This, in itself, can be problematic. Minow (1990) refers to this problem as the ‘dilemma of difference’ where the special treatment of difference further perpetuates disadvantages for members of oppressed groups. However if this difference is not recognised there is the likelihood of it not being addressed (Ainscow, Booth, and Dyson 2006; Miles and Singal, 2010). Proponents of inclusive education including; Ainscow, Booth, and Dyson, (2006), have argued that initiatives focused solely on disability tend to undermine and distract from broader efforts to promote system and organisational change, which is the central focus of inclusive education, as it was originally intended.
Literate Pakistan Programme Better Education For All (Befa from Pakistan
Sun, March 10, 2013 at 04.12 pm
BEFA Pakistan to Committ full statement of the six Dakar goals for EFA is as follows:
1. Early childhood care and education – expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children;
2. Free and compulsory primary education – ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality;
3. Learning needs of all youth and adults – ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life-skills programmes;
4. Adult literacy – achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults;
5. Gender equality in primary education – eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality;
6. Educational quality – improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.
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