All people have the same universal right to education and to reach their full potential. Having a disability increases the risk of being excluded from education, and especially girls with disabilities have reduced access to education in the global south.
UN Progress Report from 2018 estimates that 58% of children and young people do not accomplish basic reading and math skills, even though they are enrolled in school. Children and young people with disabilities are overrepresented. Only approximately 60% of children with disabilities in poor countries go to primary school, and less than 50% continue with their education after finishing primary school. In the most impoverished countries, these numbers are even lower. An example is Nepal, where as many as 85% of all children outside school have a disability.
The Atlas Alliance inclusive education program
The superior goal of our inclusive education program is that girls and boys, women and men with disabilities, complete their inclusive quality education and benefit from lifelong learning opportunities.
Two important international frameworks present the direction of the education program:
- UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, especially Article 24 about education.
- UN Sustainability Goals, both goal 4, good education, and the basic principle that no one should be left out.
Our work wants to ensure:
- Access to free, impartial, and customized quality education.
- That disabled people have equal access to all levels of education.
The Atlas Alliance works to increase the supply of qualified teachers who use inclusive educational methods. In addition to teachers who are trained in inclusive methods, the schools require equipment and adapted materials for children with disabilities to receive a quality education together with their peers. To achieve the superior goal, the Atlas organizations and partners have identified the overall results they want to achieve.
What do we want?
- Disabled people's own organizations (DPOs) to take a leading role in the advocacy work for inclusive education, including in the preschool years, at a local, regional, and national level.
- For girls and boys, women and men with disabilities, to gain access to and participate in inclusive education.
These are the target audiences for the Atlas Alliance's education program:
- Partner DPOs and their members who, with program support, take a leading role in promoting inclusive and unprejudiced quality education for all.
- Girls and boys, women and men with disabilities, and who are offered inclusive educational opportunities in the schools and learning institutions that are part of the program.
- Teachers, other academical staff and school management who benefit from teacher education, further education and development activities.
- Voluntary organizations and other civil society representatives who receive training in inclusive education.
- Relevant local and national state representatives who are involved in professional development work to ensure better education policy.
In the Atlas Alliance report to Norad for 2020, we mention many concrete and good results from the work with inclusive education in Africa and Asia. Here are some of the results the report refers to:
- Numbers on how many people have received education through our projects.
- Numbers on how many teachers who have been trained in inclusive education, either as part of teacher education or as further education.
- Examples of how the DPOs now take a more leading role in the fight for inclusive education at a regional, national and sub-national level.
- Examples of changes in relevant laws and guidelines, as well as in new laws, guidelines or strategies for inclusive education.
- Narrative examples of public employees who actively support inclusive education.
- Concrete examples of political advocacy work that has influenced decision-makers for inclusive education, as well as led to development at a national and local level.
- Concrete examples of actions that have led to inclusive education.
- Concrete examples of other representatives (voluntary organizations, media and similar representatives) that act as allies for inclusive education.
- Documented data from DPO surveillance of municipal budgets and use of budget allocations for inclusive education and early childhood development in the target areas.
- Narrative examples of parents and other caregivers who report being supported, and/or participating in care, for children in school and preschool.
Do you have questions about the Atlas Alliance's performance report, or about our work for inclusive education? Reach out to our contact for education, Eirin Kallestad, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org