REPORT: Human-Rights Approach to Education for All

Posted on 30 January 2008. Filed under: Children, Cross-Disability, Education, Human Rights, Reports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has released a report on a human rights based approach to making education accessible to all children, entitled A Human Rights-Based Approach to Education for All: A framework for the realization of children’s right to education and rights within education (PDF format, 812 Kb). The report discusses current thinking and practice on human rights based approaches in the education sector. It presents key issues and challenges in rights-based approaches and provides a framework for developing policies and programs at the school, local, national, or international levels. It is targeted particularly at governments, civil society organizations, United Nations and bilateral agencies, and other development partners.

This report touches briefly on issues affecting disabled children in education throughout. A search for the word “disabilities” finds multiple short references in the text. For example, there is a mention of such issues as the fact that the birth of some children–but particularly disabled children–may not be registered in some countries, making it more difficult to accurately estimate the need for schooling. And the report asserts that attention must be paid to the communication needs of children with sensory impairments (Braille for blind students; sign language for deaf students).

There are some disappointments here. For instance, the introduction has the usual discussion of the 77 million children who are currently out of school but misses an opportunity to point out that disabled children are disproportionately represented among them. But the integration of disability related concerns into a broader discussion of educational issues is itself an important step in the right direction. Especially positive is seeing disability issues integrated into a report like this one that emphasizes education as a human right for all children–including children with disabilities.

The report can be downloaded in PDF format (812 Kb) at:

We Can Do learned about this report via the Disabled People’s International on-line newsletter. DPI’s newsletter can be subscribed to, via email, for free.

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