How Different Countries Stand for Education Equality

special educational progress

In mid-May of 2015, international leaders from all over the globe met at the World Education Forum in South Korea. They established new sustainable development goals for the coming years.

The forum’s hefty goals point to a long road of changes, which can hopefully usher in a new era of successful special education programs worldwide. For example, by 2030, the forum plans to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.

This encompasses those that require special education. In terms of special education, the world’s leaders have many pressing issues that justify their will to make progress soon. Millions of reasons, to be exact.

Of the estimated 500 million persons with disabilities worldwide, 120 million to 150 million are children. Eighty percent of these children live in lower to lower-middle-income countries, where they are more likely to not receive the resources needed to ensure successful development into adulthood.

Examples of the concerning state of special education in developing countries can be seen at a global scale, from Greece, to Nicaragua, to Uganda.

Research published by ActionAid, an international NGO that stands primarily against poverty and injustice worldwide, revealed that Greece does not even have a national register to account for children with disabilities. Even so, it is estimated that only 15% of the hundreds of thousands of disabled children in Greece attend school at all.

In Nicaragua, about 500,000 children do not attend school, because they are either in rural areas, are poor, or are disabled, according to UNICEF.

Uganda’s special education situation seems to be bleak as well. The number of citizens classified as disabled is growing every day, but with a student to teacher ratio of 50 to 1, a greater number of specialized teachers are needed.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of resources and troubling financial situations,  as few as 9 percent of school-aged children with disabilities attend primary school, compared with a national average of 92 percent. Only 6 percent of these continue studying in secondary schools, according to a 2014 report by Uganda’s Ministry of Gender and Social Development.

However, a silver lining exists amongst the shocking statistics, in the form of political and educational initiatives. Political campaigns by groups such as ActionAid in Greece protest for more funding of special education, as well as implementing higher standards for teacher training in special education.

Pilot programs, such as the Ugandan Youth with Physical Disability Development Forum, have shown that developing countries can still progress. The programs educate local schools on how they may utilize simple materials to create new teaching materials, such as abacuses and flashcards. They also provide basic teacher training, so that they can be knowledgeable about how to teach students with disabilities. After the YPDDF worked with 60 individual teachers to improve their understanding of special education, dropout rate for those students fell by almost half.

Progress should begin with a teacher; it should not be forced to stall due to bleak statistics. The World Education Forum’s goals point to new hope at the end of the long tunnel of educational reform, especially for students whose lives are made brighter through education.

Written by Samantha Mallari

This entry was posted in Autism Action Alerts, Autism Advocacy, Autism Africa, Autism Awareness, Autism Diagnosis, Autism Education, Autism International, Autism Media Coverage, Autism Research, Autism Therapy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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