December 3rd was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a time to reflect on what an iclusive, accessible world can look like, and commit to acting to make that world a reality.
In keeping with this theme of inclusion and we encourage you to read the recent UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa article, "Inclusive Education: Reaching Children with Disabilities in Africa" published December 4th by Natalia Amelina, Florence Migeon, Justine Sass, Tao Zhan, and Quentin Wodon.
The article sheds light on the educational disparities faced by children with disabilities in sub-Saharan Africa. And what can be done to create safe and accessible education for all.
In particular, the article mentions specific interventions, such as school eye health programs, that can make a significant impact on inclusive education, especially for children with poor vision.
It points out the study by EYElliance and the World Bank that found that children with visual impairment are less likely to ever enroll in school, complete their primary education, and be literate than children without disabilities. They may also perform less well on assessments.
The article goes on to explain that simply screening children for visual impairment and providing eyeglasses to those who need them could make a major difference. Unfortunately, the coverage of school eye health programs is extremely low in Africa.
It also provides a way forward for scaling up programs like this: "UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa and EYElliance are finalizing a new study providing a cost-benefit analysis of these programs to encourage scale-up. Preliminary results suggest high benefit to cost ratios."
Inclusion and accessibility are key to creating a fairer, more sustainable future for all.