School location

School distance can be a major factor in preventing children from enrolling in primary school or causing them to drop out. Schools that are long distances from children’s homes increase the opportunity costs of schooling and can pose safety and security hazards, especially for girls on their way to/from school. Schools may be located too far away due to difficulties in school construction; deficiencies in the planning that determines the location of schools; the existence of small, dispersed communities; or may be due to migration challenges among certain populations, such as for nomadic communities. Strategies to address the geographic distribution of schools can be divided into those improving planning mechanisms on school placements, those facilitating access to already existing schools, and those trying to supply an adequate substitute in the area.

Promising policy options

Construction of new schools

The construction of new schools is the most straightforward way to reduce school distances. As building new schools can be a costly and slow process, this can be described as a medium- to long-term strategy, unlike other more short-term tactics described below.

There are multiple reasons for having an insufficient supply of schools in a certain area. The following Policy pages deal with some of the most common root causes:

Difficulty to build new schools:

There is a difficulty to recruit teachers for possible new schools:

References
Moulton, J. 2001. Improving education in rural areas: Guidance for rural development specialists. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://www.tanzaniagateway.org/docs/Improving_education_in_rural_areas_guidance_for_rural_development.pdf

The World Bank. 2009c. Guidance notes on safer school construction. Washington D.C: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/728061468326978133/Guidance-notes-on-safer-school-construction-global-facility-for-disaster-reduction-and-recovery

Other policy options

Reducing school distance norms

Distance norms refer to the maximum distance children should travel to reach school, which is used to determine school catchment areas, (along with the norm of the minimum population for each catchment area). The establishment of catchment areas can have a significant impact on children’s education because it can determine which school children can attend, and even in some countries, whether or not education is considered compulsory. Distance norms typically require that schools are located within 3 kilometres from children’s homes (however, some countries may have larger distance norms, such as Chad, which has a 5 kilometre norm due to low population density) (Theunyck, 2009). In some locations, the established distance norm may be too far for children to safely travel, particularly if there is difficult terrain, and closer, smaller schools will be more appropriate. If school distance norms are reduced, then there will be a need for an increased number of smaller schools, in place of larger schools that are further away, which would likely need to be organized in multi-grade classes (see below.)

References
Theunynck, S. 2009. School Construction for Universal Primary Education in Africa: Should Communities Be Empowered to Build Their Schools? Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/109291468007863249/pdf/488980PUB0prim101Official0Use0Only1.pdf

Small school model with multi-grade teaching

While there is a tendency for large school construction, a small school model with multi-grade teaching will minimize travel distance and might be more appropriate for rural areas with low population density. A one-room school could effectively accommodate a village population of under 240 (see Annex 1). Multi-grade teaching may be considered controversial, but it has been found to be at least effective or even more effective for learning outcomes compared to single-grade teaching. For example, some positive learning outcomes of multi-grades schools are increased autonomy of younger students and the development of teamwork for older students. Schools can then be expanded if the population increases.

Annex 1

School size and minimum village population required

Source: Theunynck, S. 2009. School construction for universal primary education in Africa: Should communities be empowered to build their schools? Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/109291468007863249/pdf/488980PUB0prim101Official0Use0Only1.pdf

References
Lehman, D. 2013. Access to Education in Rural Areas of Mali: Shortening the Distance to Education for All (EFA). Waltham: Education Development Center. Retrieved from: http://idd.edc.org/sites/idd.edc.org/files/Mali%20Rural%20Ed%20EDC_0.pdf

Theunynck, S. 2009. School construction for universal primary education in Africa: Should communities be empowered to build their schools? Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/109291468007863249/pdf/488980PUB0prim101Official0Use0Only1.pdf

UNESCO. 2013d. Practical tips for teaching multigrade classes. Bangkok: UNECO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002201/220101e.pdf

Use of existing buildings for schools

Existing unoccupied buildings within communities can be utilized as learning spaces in lieu of new school construction. This strategy is most appropriate for sparsely populated rural areas in which one-roomed schooling would be required. This solution is not ideal, as the spaces may not be adapted to be optimal learning environments for students; however, it can be a short-term solution in the face of budget constraints. In general, community spaces, youth centres, religious centres or even homes are used. This strategy is more appropriate in sparsely populated, rural areas, and should only be used as a short-term strategy.

References
The World Bank. 2009d. Six steps to abolishing primary school fees: Operational guide. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Six_Steps_to_Abolishing_Primary_School_Fees.pdf

Decentralized planning

In many countries, school location planning is centrally determined within the Ministry of Education. However, centralized approaches may lead to inappropriate decisions, using incorrect or out-dated information, and uniformly applying national standards without consideration of specific community circumstances. Decentralized approaches to school location planning that involve communities can more appropriately determine school locations that fits the needs of children and families.

*For further strategies for school construction planning see Policy page Logistical constraints in school construction.

Utilizing Geographic Information Systems

Geographic information systems (GIS) are computer programmes that can collect and process spatial, geographic and demographic information and can be utilized to inform school location planning.

GIS can facilitate a more analytical method for determining school location, and can be used to demonstrate the trade-offs in considering aspects such as efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, while GIS options exist which are open-source and free, it requires a certain level of technical expertise. Using GIS often means that actors at decentralized levels are dependent upon these resources and systems at centralized levels, which can cause strains in planning processes.

References
Hite, S. ‘School mapping and geographical information systems.’ In: Bray, M.; Varghese, N.V. (ED.), Directions in Educational Planning: International Experiences and Perspectives (pp. 215-239). Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002137/213735e.pdf

Mendelsohn, J. 1996. Education planning and management, and the use of geographical information systems. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000105758?posInSet=1&queryId=a23a61a6-0024-4735-ab04-cb80575dde49

Providing transport

Families living certain distances from schools can be provided transport, either through grants and transport vouchers, or transport provisioned by the schools themselves.

School bus routes, or some other method of transportation, can be implemented as public policy as a way of diminishing the time pupils have to spend getting to school. This policy, which is usually applied in urban areas more than rural ones, is naturally dependent on the level of dispersion of the pupils, on the budgetary constraints of the government (and the families, if the burden is to be shared with the users) and on the local rural transportation infrastructure. A cost-effective implementation of this policy requires also an adequate mapping of potential users, in order to impact as much families as possible without depleting rapidly the allocated budget.

References
Cook, J. R.; Huizenga, C.; Petts, R.;Sampsons, L. R.,;Visser, C.; Yiu, A. 2017. Rural transport research in support of sustainable development goals. Bangkok: Transport and Communications Bulletin for Asia and the Pacific. Retrieved from: https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/bulletin87_7%20Rural%20transport_JRCook.pdf

Starkey, P.; Hine, J. 2014. Poverty and sustainable transport: How transport affects poor people with policy implications for poverty reduction. UN Habitat, Overseas Development Institute, SLoCaT. Retrieved from: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/1767Poverty%20and%20sustainable%20transport.pdf

Vasconcellos, E. 1997. ‘Rural transport and access to education in developing countries: policy issues.’ In: Journal of Transport Geography. Vol. 5 (2),  127-136. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eduardo_Vasconcellos2/publication/222363323_Rural_transport_and_access_to_education_in_developing_countries_Policy_issues/links/5859111508ae64cb3d490f06/Rural-transport-and-access-to-education-in-developing-countries-Policy-issues.pdf

Boarding schools

Boarding schools (also commonly referred to as residential schools or hostels) have dormitory facilities where students can live during the school year, typically through the school week and returning home for the weekends (therefore linking with the risks identified earlier). While in some countries boarding schools are private facilities, they can also be provided by the state to provide education to children who otherwise would difficulty access schools. Care must be taken to ensure that schools are well-managed, the environments are safe and provide all of the children’s developmental needs, and that children still have frequent contact with their families.

References
Bista, M.B.; Cosstick, F. E. 2005. Providing education to girls from remote and rural areas: advocacy brief.  Bangkok: UNESCO. Received from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001397/139720e.pdf

Mobile schools

Mobile schools can adapt to nomadic and pastoralist communities’ migratory lifestyles, and may consist of structures that can be dismantled, such as tents. These schools can reach populations who otherwise would be unable to reach formal schooling locations. In Kenya, around 90 mobile schools exist, which assign teachers to a certain family or groups of families, and allow younger children to attend school during the day and older children at night. While this system allows children to learn from a sedentary settlement, the implementation of such schools is difficult, costs per students are high, teachers are often unqualified and have little support and resources, and the inconsistency of children moving in and out of the system can have negative learning consequences.

References
Kenya. 2010. Ministry of State for Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands. Getting to the hardest-to-reach: A Strategy to provide education to nomadic communities in Kenya through distance learning. Retrieved from: http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G02742.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009d. Child Friendly Schools Manual. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Child_Friendly_Schools_Manual_EN_040809.pdf

Open and distance learning

Distance education or open and distance learning refers to education where the constraints of time and space are removed, and students can learn remotely using various information and communication technologies, rather than attending a school campus. Mobile electronic devices such as phones, media players, and tablet computers are becoming increasingly affordable and common throughout the world, and offer new possibilities in reaching populations that are unable to attend physical school campuses. While open and distance learning is primarily used for tertiary education, teacher training, and other programmes targeting adults, there are also opportunities for it to be applied to primary levels. Kenya recently launched a distance learning program using radio broadcasts, to reach nomadic populations. However, infrastructure (electricity, internet/ cellular networks) might not be reliably established, educational programmes may not be sufficiently developed yet to adequately replace in-person primary education models. Other challenges include mobile literacy, safety and privacy issues, and education quality.

References
Kenya. 2010. Ministry of State for Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands. Getting to the hardest-to-reach: A Strategy to provide education to nomadic communities in Kenya through distance learning. Retrieved from: http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G02742.pdf

UNESCO. 2002. Open and Distance Learning: Trends, Policy and Strategy Considerations. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001284/128463e.pdf

UNESCO. 2013. Policy Guidelines for Mobile Learning. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002196/219641E.pdf

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

Promising policy options

Construction of new schools

Building schools near students is one of the most cost-effective, long-term solutions to increase access and retention in schools. Although the immediate costs are high, they must be analysed in terms of annualized costs, as its beneficiaries will be served for many years (UNICEF, 2015) (see Annex 2) .

Building schools near students dramatically increases attendance and retention rates for all children, particularly that of girls. Studies reveal that decreasing the school distance (30 minutes walk maximum) decreases the likelihood of dropping out of school by 50 percent (UNICEF, 2015). An analysis of 31 villages in north-western Afghanistan, where local schools were constructed, showed a significant improvement in girls’ enrolment rates (Burde and Linden, 2013). 

For instance, in Ethiopia, reducing the distance to school by building new schools had a significant impact on access (UNESCO, 2007 cited by Sperling, Winthrop and Kwauk, 2016). In Indonesia, more than 60,000 new schools were built in strategic places in order to decrease the distance to school and reach as many children as possible (Duflo, 2001 cited by Sperling, Winthrop and Kwauk, 2016). Those schools were supplied with a quality teaching force, as well as teaching and learning materials.

Annex 2

Cost-benefit analysis for nine interventions to reduce the gap in school enrolment.

Cost-benefit analysis for twelve interventions to reduce the gap in survival

Source: UNICEF. 2015. The Investment Case for Education and Equity. p. 88-89. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Investment_Case_for_Education_and_Equity_FINAL.pdf

References
Burde, D.; Linden, L.L. 2013. ‘Bringing Education to Afghan Girls: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Village-Based Schools.’ In: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol. 5, (3), pp. 27–40. Retrieved from: http://www.leighlinden.com/Afghanistan_Girls_Ed.pdf

GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/ content/guidance-developing-gender-responsive-education-sector-plans

UNICEF. 2015. The Investment Case for Education and Equity. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Investment_Case_for_Education_and_Equity_FINAL.pdf

Other policy options

Small school model with multi-grade teaching

As expressed in the general section of the present Policy page, implementing a small school model with multi-grade classrooms is an alternative policy strategy. A relevant example is Colombia’s multi-grade community schools programme known as Escuela Nueva or ‘New School’: Implemented since 1975 by Colombia’s Ministry of Education, it reached students of different ages, grades and abilities by teaching them in the same classroom and by providing flexible schedules. Teachers were trained and supported to move away from rote teaching methods into active teaching and learning techniques. Solely implemented in rural communities at first, it was later on expanded to disadvantaged areas in cities. A study done in 1992 showed that due to this initiative, enrolment rates in rural areas increased from 50 to 80 percent, benefiting girls in particular (Benveniste and McEwan, 2000, Rugh and Bossert, 1998 cited by Sperling, Winthrop and Kwauk, 2016).

Along with the principles of inclusive education, multi-grade teaching promotes and welcomes diversity. Yet, it is essential to ensure that teachers are adequately trained and prepared so as to provide quality education for all (UNICEF, 2015).

References
Sperling, G.B; Winthrop, R.; Kwauk, C. 2016. What works in girl’s education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/whatworksingirlseducation 1.pdf

UNICEF. 2015. The Investment Case for Education and Equity. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Investment_Case_for_Education_and_Equity_FINAL.pdf

Utilizing Geographic Information Systems

The information and recommendations provided in the general section apply.

The use of population grids by gender and age structures –together with the georeferencing of schools and their education indicators–, could be used to determine gender disparities across the territory and thus establish spatially targeted policies.

References
Hite, S. ‘School mapping and geographical information systems.’ In: Bray, M.; Varghese, N.V. (ED.), Directions in Educational Planning: International Experiences and Perspectives (pp. 215-239). Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002137/213735e.pdf

Mendelsohn, J. 1996. Education planning and management, and the use of geographical information systems. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000105758?posInSet=1&queryId=a23a61a6-0024-4735-ab04-cb80575dde49

Providing transport

Providing free or affordable, safe transportation methods is a policy option which in many contexts has increased attendance rates, particularly that of girls (UK Aid, 2016).

References
GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/ content/guidance-developing-gender-responsive-education-sector-plans

UK Aid. 2016. Girls’ Education Challenge: GEC thematic discussion papers. London: UK Aid. Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/GEC_Thematic_discussion_papers.pdf

Boarding facilities

Boarding facilities ‘can play an instrumental role in promoting access to education for children from remote or rural areas, particularly girls’ (Bista and Cosstick, 2005: 5). When well-managed, adequately funded and secure, they can help achieve gender equality in enrolment, retention and achievement.

References
GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/ content/guidance-developing-gender-responsive-education-sector-plans

Bista, M.B.; Cosstick, F. E. 2005. Providing education to girls from remote and rural areas: advocacy brief.  Bangkok: UNESCO. Received from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001397/139720e.pdf
 

Satellite and community schools

Community schools have been proven to increase enrolment and completion rates, particularly that of girls. For instance, in Mali, community schools raised girls’ enrolment rates by 67 percent. In the year 2000, 1,500 community schools served 8 percent of Mali’s pupils. Another example is BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Action Committee) schools’ completion rate is 94 percent, compared to 67 percent in public schools (DeStefano et al., 2007 cited by Sperling, Winthrop and Kwauk, 2016).

Another final example is how community-based schools in rural north-western Afghanistan virtually eliminated the gender gap between boys’ and girl’s enrolment rates (GPE and UNGEI, 2017).  Develop satellite schools and provide quality teachers (GPE and UNGEI, 2017).

Educational planners and relevant stakeholders must ensure a transition towards the public system. For example, BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Action Committee) schools offer the first three years of primary education, afterward, it enables the transition towards the public system (DeStefano et al., 2007 cited by Sperling, Winthrop and Kwauk, 2016). Ministries of Education must ensure that satellite and community schools –which may be private in nature– uphold the Abidjan Principles.

References
Sperling, G.B; Winthrop, R.; Kwauk, C. 2016. What works in girl’s education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/whatworksingirlseducation 1.pdf

GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/ content/guidance-developing-gender-responsive-education-sector-plans

The Abidjan Principles. 2019. The Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of States to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education. Adopted on 13 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.abidjanprinciples.org/en/principles/overview

Open and Distance Learning

Open and Distance Learning (ODL) can be a solution when school distance prevents children from enrolling in primary school or leads them to drop-out.

Mainstream gender throughout the Open and Distance Learning offer. New ODL programmes should be conceived through a gender perspective. Existent ODL programmes should be reviewed to increase gender equity in content, context and terminology. Open and Distance Learning and the use of Information and Communication Technology in Education can help advance in gender equality and inclusion (Ó Siochru, Attwell and Nexus Research Cooperative, 2019). For example, the project Mobile Literacy for Out of School Children, implemented in Thailand by UNESCO Bangkok, in partnership with Microsoft, has assisted 4,000 underprivileged children –particularly girls– in rural areas;

Another example is the Literacy Project for Young Girls and Women in Senegal (Le Projet d’Alphabétisation des Jeunes Filles et Femmes au Sénégal – PAJEF), implemented from 2011 to 2015, reached 40,000 girls and women. Finally, the project Empowerment of Girls and Women through the Use of ICTs in Literacy and Skills Development implemented in Nigeria from 2013 to 2016 reached 60,000 girls and women in Rivers State and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).  

(For a country-based example of how to mainstream gender throughout ODL consult Botswana, 2008).

References
Botswana. 2008. Directorate of Social and Human Development & Special Programmes. Gender Mainstreaming Strategy for Open and Distance Learning 2008-2012. Gaborone: Directorate of Social and Human Development & Special Programmes. Retrieved from: https://www.sadc.int/files/2613/7820/8537/THE_GMS_DOCUMENT___for_ODL_final_version_2008-2012.pdf

Ó Siochru, S.; Attwell, G.; Nexus Research Cooperative. 2019. Evaluation of UNESCO’s Work in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Education. Paris: UNESCO Internal Oversight Service – Evaluation Office. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370520?posInSet=27&queryId=805377e6-5001-408e-a7ca-246d581f8ba0

Policies for children with disabilities

Promising policy options

Building inclusive mainstream settings

When segregated systems exist, specialized educational facilities are in limited quantity and usually found in the main cities. This leaves many children with disabilities without the possibility of receiving an education (Cheshire, 2019). To tackle down the issue of school distance, it is of utmost importance to build inclusive mainstream settings which meet the needs of all children and guarantee all children’s right to education, including children with disabilities.

Building inclusive mainstream settings is more cost-effective than maintaining a segregated system (UNICEF, 2014). Integrate the principles of equity and inclusion throughout national and local education policy and legislation (for more details consult UNESCO, 2017a). For instance, Italy passed a law in 1977 which lead to closing all specialized educational facilities. Since then, the country has worked on strengthening its inclusive education system (Ainscow, 2019). Another example, New Brunswick in Canada adopted Policy 322 on Inclusive Education, which defines the key elements of an inclusive mainstream system (Ainscow, 2019). Cyprus, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Latvia, Finland, and Portugal have made significant efforts to build inclusive education systems (Ainscow, 2019; UNESCO, 2015a).

Address the question of the education of children with disabilities through the Education Sector Plan (when available). Through ESPs, governments can ensure that political will as well as sufficient capacity, leadership and resources are allocated to the establishment of inclusive education systems. For example, Tanzania’s Education Sector Development Plan (2008-2017) states ‘wherever possible, all children with special educational needs should be educated in “normal” classes in “normal” schools. This inclusive approach necessitates teachers being appropriately trained together with “disability-friendly” school buildings and community awareness-raising as necessary’ (Tanzania, 2008: 20).

Allocate the appropriate amount of resources to ensure that mainstream settings meet the unique needs of children with disabilities. Buildings should be accessible, the personnel is adequately trained, accessible teaching and learning materials are available, and additional support services and aids are provided, among others.

Mainstream schools that are not adequately equipped and prepared to respond to the needs of children with disabilities can produce devastating effects.

Building inclusive education systems is a process and thus entails a gradual transition from specialized or integrated approaches (UNESCO, 2015a). The final goal is to create an education system that meets the needs, respects the right to education and provides the same educational opportunities to all children, including children with disabilities (UNESCO, 2017).

‘As local schools become more inclusive, the need for separate special services should diminish’ (Ainscow, 2019: 22). Yet, throughout the transition, hybrid policies including aspects of inclusive, integrated and special education can be recognized all together. As long as the general movement leads towards more inclusionary practices and is geared towards meeting all children’s needs, hybrid policies can be taken advantage of (UNESCO, 2015a). For instance, mainstream settings should collaborate with special schools and units and use them as resource centres throughout their transition (UNESCO, 2017).

It is fundamental to have a shared and clear understanding of what inclusive education means. Not having a clear understanding of key terms such as inclusion, inclusive education, and equity, may impede progress. It is essential to (Ainscow, 2019; Cheshire, 2019; Ainscow, 2005; UNESCO, 2017):

  • promote a shared and clear definition of inclusive education which takes into consideration the local circumstances, cultures, and history;
  • involve multiple stakeholders in the process; and
  • mobilize the shared and clear definition of inclusive education through policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks.

Enhance collaboration among multiple stakeholders to build an inclusive education system: Ministries of Education and all relevant stakeholders –such as NGOs, Disability Peoples’ Organisations (DPOs), families, communities, school leaders– must work together to ensure that while the gradual process towards inclusive mainstream settings becomes operational, alternative learning programmes are reaching out and answering to the needs of all children with disabilities (these partnerships should uphold the Abidjan Principles).

References
Ainscow, M. 2005. ‘Developing inclusive education systems: what are the levers for change?’ In: Journal of Educational Change, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 109-124.

Ainscow, M. 2019. The UNESCO Salamanca Statement 25 years on Developing inclusive and equitable education systems. Discussion paper prepared for the International Forum on inclusion and equity in education – every learner matters, Cali, Colombia, 11-13 September 2019. Retrieved from: https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/2019-forum-inclusion-discussion-paper-en.pdf

Cheshire, L. 2019. Inclusive education for persons with disabilities – Are we making progress? Background paper prepared for the International Forum on inclusion and equity in Education – Every learner matters, Cali, Colombia, 11-13 September 2019. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370386?posInSet=11&queryId=8251b10e-fda6-4bf5-a11e-a077d7076fa4

EDT (Education Development Trust); UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2016. Eastern and Southern Africa regional study on the fulfilment of the right to education of children with disabilities. Reading: EDT. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/esaro/Regional-children-with-disabilities-UNICEF-EDT-2016.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO. 2019. Technical Round Table: Inclusion of children with disabilities in education sector planning in French-speaking Africa. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. [Unpublished document]. 

Tanzania. 2008. Education Sector Development Programme 2008-2017, Revised Edition. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/sites/default/files/2008-01-Tanzania-Mainland-Sector-Plan.pdf

The Abidjan Principles. 2019. The Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of States to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education. Adopted on 13 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.abidjanprinciples.org/en/principles/overview

UNESCO. 2015a. Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and challenges. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002322/232205e.pdf

UNESCO. 2017a. A guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002482/248254e.pdf

UNESCO. 2019. The right to education for persons with disabilities. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000371249

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Financing of Inclusive Education: Webinar 8 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: http://www.inclusive-education.org/sites/default/files/uploads/booklets/IE_Webinar_Booklet_8.pdf

Other policy options

Small school model with multi-grade teaching

Multi-grade teaching is a cost-effective measure to enhance inclusive quality education (UNESCO, 2009c). Along with the principles of inclusive education, multi-grade teaching promotes and welcomes diversity within the classroom and encourages the use of inclusive pedagogy (Howgego, Miles and Myers, 2014). Within multi-grade classrooms, peer-to-peer collaboration is enhanced (Makoelle and Malindi, 2014). Nevertheless, it is essential to ensure that teachers are adequately trained and prepared so as to provide quality education for all (UNICEF, 2015). Particularly, teachers should be supported with practical tools and methods in order to understand and mobilise children’s varying abilities (for specific recommendations consult Policy pages: Teacher content knowledge, Classroom practices, and Teaching skills).

References
Howgego, C.; Miles, S.; Myers, J. 2014. Inclusive Learning: Children with disabilities and difficulties in learning. Oxford: HEART (Health & Education Advice & Resource Team). Retrieved from: http://www.heart-resources.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Inclusive-Learning-Topic-Guide.pdf?9d29f8=

Makoelle, T.M; Malindi, M.C. 2014. ‘Multi-Grade Teaching and Inclusion: Selected Cases in the Free State Province of South Africa’. In: International Journal of Educational Sciences, Vol. 7, pp. 77-86.

UNESCO. 2009c. Policy guidelines on inclusion in education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0017/001778/177849e.pdf

UNICEF. 2015. The Investment Case for Education and Equity. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Investment_Case_for_Education_and_Equity_FINAL.pdf

Providing transport

Subsidise or provide free transportation to children with disabilities. For instance, through the provision of transportation, the programme Cheshire Services Uganda allowed children with disabilities to attend school (UK Aid, 2016).

References
UK Aid. 2016. Girls’ Education Challenge: GEC thematic discussion papers. London: UK Aid. Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/GEC_Thematic_discussion_papers.pdf

Open and Distance Learning

Open and Distance Learning (ODL) are recognized as ‘one of the most sustainable methods for overcoming the educational barriers faced by persons with disabilities’ (UNESCO, 2016: 7). One of the many barriers is geographical distance from schools. Ministries of Education and all relevant stakeholders must ensure that ODL are inclusive, so that all children, including children with disabilities, can easily access them and thus benefit from the same educational opportunities.

UNESCO’s Guidelines on the Inclusion of Learners with Disabilities in Open and Distance Learning (2016) gives a set of specific recommendations to each stakeholder. They include the following, among others (consult UNESCO, 2016, for specific details):

Ministries of Education should:

  • ensure an adequate legal and policy framework for the development of inclusive ODL;
  • provide sufficient funding;
  • enhance cooperation and partnership among multiple stakeholders (include Disability People’s Organisations in the process to find pertinent solutions to accessible and inclusive ODL);
  • promote research on the area to improve ODL’s accessibility; and
  • provide Assistive Technologies to children with disabilities and ensure inclusive Information and Communication Technology ICT.

Educational Institutions delivering ODL should:

  • encourage and support the enrolment of persons with disabilities in ODL;
  • guarantee that the content is inclusive and thus meets the needs of all students;
  • ‘ensure that assistive technology is able to remove barriers to learning, including, but not limited to, cognitive, physical and sensory barriers’, implement the principles of Universal Design for Learning for this purpose (UNESCO, 2016: 17); and
  • provide support services to all participants.

Instructors should:

  • recognize and meet the individual needs of all the students;
  • promote inclusive pedagogies;
  • monitor regularly the content to ensure that it is inclusive and accessible; and
  • continuously participate in professional development as well as knowledge exchange between peers.
References
UNESCO. 2016. Learning for All: Guidelines on the Inclusion of Learners with Disabilities in Open and Distance Learning. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000244355

Policies for displaced populations and host communities

All policies mentioned in the general section have been analysed keeping in mind that most of the disadvantaged groups end up living in remote areas and hence cannot access schools that are far away. Therefore, all the policies mentioned in the general section of the present Policy page apply for this category.

Other policy options

School Bus Project

The School Bus Project was set up by a core team of educators. This project comprises of teaching, project management, international policy and more, such as:

  • they provide resources for mobile learning in improvised schools wherever they are needed;
  • they train volunteers to contribute to learning support and provide advice to other groups;
  • they lobby in the UK to raise the profile of the agenda for migrants, refugees & displaced people;
  • they work internationally to highlight solutions that deliver education when it is most needed;
  • they raise awareness and funding through a network of UK Hubs; and
  • they collaborate with partners and with schools and community organisations.

Explore the School Bus Project.

Use of gadgets for promoting education/online education

An innovative initiative called Instant Network Schools has brought online education and connectivity into refugee camps in Kenya. Selected schools and community centres are kitted out with a “digital box” that includes a set of computer tablets, solar-powered batteries, a satellite or mobile network, and a suite of content and online learning material. Teachers receive IT support and ongoing training. Since the initial pilot in Dadaab in 2014, the programme has been taken up by 31 centres in four countries: Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (UNHCR 2017)

References
UNICEF. 2019. Going to school in a refugee camp: A chance to learn. Sudan. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/sudan/stories/going-school-refugee-camp

UNESCO. 2018. A Lifeline to learning: leveraging mobile technology to support education for refugees. Paris. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000261278

UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees). 2017. Innovation transforms education for refugee students in Africa. Available at: https://www.unhcr.org/news/stories/2017/3/58c283da4/innovation-transforms-education-refugee-students-africa.html

UNESCO. 2013. Policy Guidelines for Mobile Learning. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002196/219641E.pdf

Policies for minority populations

All policies mentioned in the general section have been analysed keeping in mind that most of the disadvantaged groups, especially the indigenous population, end up living in remote areas and hence cannot access schools that are far away. Therefore, all the policies mentioned in the general section of the present Policy page apply for this category.

Updated on 2021-09-24

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