10 messages and 10 recommendations on disability and education

inclusion summary 1Timed to coincide with next week’s Global Disability Summit co-hosted by United Kingdom Department for International Development, the Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance, we have produced a summary of content related to disability and education from our reports dating back to 2010. This summary provides background to those attending the Summit as well as those aiming to take part in the ongoing online consultation for the 2020 GEM Report on inclusion and education.

The summary gives ten key messages with accompanying evidence:

  1. Most countries have committed to protect the right to education for people with disabilities, which offers a basis for accountability.
  2. But assessing compliance with this right is complicated by blurred definitions and a lack of monitoring mechanisms.
  3. Organizations of persons with disabilities, as well as families and communities, can play a significant role in monitoring country commitments to the right to education.
  4. There is a lack of concrete data showing the true scale of disabilities worldwide and its link to education, although this should improve soon.
  5. We know that marginalization is more acute for children with disabilities.
  6. A relatively larger share of children with disabilities live in poorer countries.
  7. Children with disabilities are less likely to attend and complete primary school
  8. Those with disabilities are more likely to be without basic literacy skills
  9. Disability intersects with other disadvantages to exacerbate children’s disadvantage.
    • Poverty is both a potential cause and a consequence of disability
    • Girls and those in conflict with disabilities can be especially vulnerable.
  10. Different disabilities create very different education-related challenges

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Join the online consultation for the 2020 GEM Report on inclusion and education

cover with creditFollowing previous GEM reports on education and the other SDGs (2016), accountability (2017/8), and migration and displacement (2019), the 2020 GEM Report will focus on inclusion. An online consultation opened this morning for the Report and will run for eight weeks. We would like to invite you to take part.

Echoing the overall orientation in the SDGs to “leave no one behind”, the 2020 GEM Report will take an in-depth look at inclusion and education, showing the barriers faced by the most vulnerable, including people with disabilities.

An initial concept note for the Report shows that, by analysing policies the world over, the research will aim to present evidence on the different elements of education systems that can support inclusion, such as laws and policies, governance and finance, curricular and learning materials, teachers, school infrastructure, school selection and parental and community views. A range of indicators will be examined for their effectiveness in measuring inclusion in education. Continue reading

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Learning lessons from Uganda on transparent education reporting for the public

The 2017/8 GEM Report showed that national education monitoring reports are a vital tool for transparency and accountability in education yet only 21 out of 48 countries in the sub-Saharan region published an education monitoring report at least once since 2010 and fewer than 10% did so regularly. One of them is the Annual Performance Report of the Ministry of Education and Sports in Uganda, which the Undersecretary at the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr Aggrey Kibenge, talks about in this blog.

The 2017/8 GEM Report showed that the basis of governments’ accountability to Parliament and to the public is a credible education plan with clear targets that allocates resources through transparent, trackable budgets.

uganda 1Uganda is into its second decade of producing its Education and Sports Sector Annual Performance Report (ESSAPR), which is compiled by the Education Planning and Policy Analysis Department in collaboration with other Ministry of Education and Sports departments. The overall goal of the ESSAPR is to present an analysis of sector performance and feedback to key stakeholders, including the general public, on government efforts to educate its citizenry.

Findings from the ESSAPR are integrated into a comprehensive Government Annual Performance Report submitted to cabinet, which form part of a whole governmental approach to strengthen accountability.    Continue reading

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Initial findings from the new Afrobarometer confirm that educated people are more likely to migrate

afroberometerThe Afrobarometer is a pan-African network that carries out face to face opinion surveys in more than 35 countries each year.  The full data is due out later this year, but initial data from nine countries – Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Mali, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – confirms that educated people are more likely to migrate.

About 65% of the total population of Africa are below the age of 35 years, making Africa the most youthful continent. But many are migrating to other countries, looking for ways to improve their education, or benefit from the education they have already received. In each of the nine countries, younger respondents are more likely to have considered emigrating (19% compared to just 8% for those aged 46-55) Continue reading

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What does the final draft of the Global Compact for Migration say about education?

gcmThe final draft of the first intergovernmentally negotiated agreement on the governance of migration, the Global Compact for Migration, was released today. This is not a small feat given the vast divides in opinion on this issue around the world and earlier setbacks in the process. It reflects a common sentiment that migration is a global phenomenon of huge importance that requires global coordination.

Given this backdrop, we are excited to be launching the 2019 GEM Report on migration, displacement and education on November 20. Its findings and recommendations could not be more topical. The detail our Report carries on the subject will be a perfect complement to the commitments pledged in the Compact. It will help create an even stronger link between the Compact and the SDG4 priorities, bringing two agendas together and creating clarity for countries now tasked with turning the promises into policy.

What does the Compact say about education?

The word education appears 15 times in the 34-page document, appearing in relation to no fewer than 10 of the Compact’s 23 objectives. The links found in the document between migration and education show that this is a classic example of the need for sector collaboration in the spirit of the SDGs. In this same vein, migration is also one of the areas of focus in the 2018 High-level Political Forum taking place this and next week in New York. But three objectives stand out for being the most central to SDG 4 progress. Continue reading

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Introducing the Mini-LAMP: A practical option for developing countries to assess reading and numeracy skills

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

I am in Bangkok at the Asia-Pacific Meeting on Education 2030 (APMED) to find ways to transform learning and meet the skills demand to achieve the SDGs. There is a sense of urgency in the discussions, with references to the global learning crisis that jeopardizes the future of 6 out of 10, or 617 million, children and adolescents who are unable to achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics according to data from the UIS.

But it is the numbers that we don’t have that scare me the most.

First Phase DigitalHow many adults in the world lack basic literacy and numeracy skills? The standard answer is that 750 million adults are illiterate worldwide. To be honest, I rarely cite this number, knowing that it is based largely on a single question – “Can you read or write a simple sentence?” – asked in a household survey or census.

How to reduce the technical and financial burden of learning assessments 

Through the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML), we are working with countries and partners to produce the very first internationally-comparable indicators on skills and learning. But clearly the best indicators in the world will amount to little if countries cannot collect the data to produce them. We must be pragmatic and creative – finding flexible ways to adapt existing assessments in order to meet the priorities and contexts of countries. Continue reading

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Everyone benefits from diversity on campus – why the problem with affirmative action?

This week, affirmative action has been making the headlines in the United States. First introduced by President Kennedy in 1961, the policy was designed to ensure non-discrimination in university enrollment. Although originally some universities used strict quotas to admit a set percentage of minority students to the university, a 1978 US Supreme Court cased ruled that practice unconstitutional. Since that time, affirmative action in admission policy entails using race as one of multiple factors, such as exam scores, socio-economic status, and extra-curricular activities, in making admission decisions. A few days ago, under directive from President Trump, the Department of Justice took a step toward challenging affirmative action by rescinding all guidance to universities on how to legally implement the policy. President Trump has said that the policies “advocate policy preferences and positions beyond the requirements of the Constitution.”

This decision comes on the back of many legal battles over the policy, won by those championing affirmative action. Only a few years ago, the Supreme Court upheld a case on affirmative action in relation to the University of Texas’s admission policy. In this case, the University of Texas identified three compelling interests for increasing diversity through its policy: “the destruction of stereotypes”, promoting “cross-cultural understanding”, and preparing students “for an increasingly diverse work force and society”. In 2003, the University of Michigan won another major Supreme Court, allowing race to be used as one factor in admissions decisions.

SIPA's Commencement 2016 at Columbia University

Another high profile case, dating back to 2015 and still ongoing, involves complaints filed by a group of Asian-Americans against Harvard University for using race as a criteria in its admissions policy. Continue reading

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