Inclusive education for children with disabilities can transform lives, says UNICEFListen /
Progressive policies in inclusive education have made positive changes in the lives of children with disabilities in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, according to UNICEF – the UN children's agency.
UNICEF says more schools are welcoming first grade children with disabilities in Serbia as a result of years of policy advocacy. It says huge nationwide awareness raising campaigns in Montenegro and strong engagement of civil society in promoting inclusion in Armenia have led to increased public demands for inclusive schools.
At a briefing focusing on the issue of children with disabilities this week during a meeting of UNICEF's Executive Board in New York, other governments and donor communities were urged to support policies that realized all children`s right to quality education as one way to reduce inequities created by social exclusion.
A UNICEF paper "The Right of Children with Disabilities to Education: A Rights-Based Approach to Inclusive Education", was presented at the briefing detailing how inclusive education promotes tolerance and equal participation in society. It leads to better learning outcomes, not only for children with disabilities but for all children. It is central to the achievement of high quality education for all learners, reducing inequities and building more inclusive societies, the UNICEF paper says.
The 2011 World Disability Report estimated the number of children with disabilities at 5.1 per cent of the population. This means about 93 million children in the world and about 5.1 million in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.