Ahead of Global Partnership for Education's Global Education Summit: Financing GPE 2021-2025, which took place July 28 and 29, 2021, the Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US), the Inclusive Education & Early Childhood Community of Practice, and partner organizations joined forces to launch a series of events focused on inclusive education, including:
- Gender-Responsive and Disability Inclusive Education for All
- A Roadmap to Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education
- Universal Design for Learning: Impact on policy, practice, and partnerships for inclusive education
- From Commitments to Action: Financing for Inclusive Education
On July 21, the Gender-Responsive and Disability Inclusive Education for All event, organized by Leonard Cheshire, Sightsavers, Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), the World Bank Inclusive Education Initiative, and GCE-US, highlighted quality education for all with a focus on gender and disability inclusion.
Speakers included: Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Global Disability Advisor of the World Bank Group; Sarah Musau, a Leonard Cheshire Youth Advocate from Kenya; Helen Grant, UK Prime Minister's Special Envoy on Girls' Education; Dr. Elyas Abdi, Kenyan Director General, State Department for Early Learning and Basic Education; Martin Okiyo, Inclusive Education Technical Advisor, Leonard Cheshire Kenya; Tiangay Gondoe, Programme Manager, Sightsavers; Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, Gender and Disability Rights Advocate, United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities; Shrutilata Singh, youth advocate, Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network (CCYDN); Daniela Gordon, young activist, Interamerican Institute of Disability and Inclusive Development (iiDi); Jorge U. Colin, Education Specialist at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE); Jennifer Rigg, Executive Director, GCE-US; Elaine Green, Head of Influencing, Campaigns and Public Affairs, Leonard Cheshire; and Antara Ganguli, Head of the UNGEI Secretariat.
The event showcased examples of education models and finance mechanisms that have made it possible for girls with disabilities to access quality, inclusive education. Presentations highlighted some of the barriers to education and opportunities for girls with disabilities, outlining critical next steps to ensure their inclusion in education planning. Despite some promising progress, there are more actions and resources needed to ensure girls with disabilities are gaining the same level of quality, inclusive education as boys with disabilities, and their non-disabled peers. The COVID-19 pandemic, combined with existing social and economic barriers that both girls and children with disabilities face means we need to urgently redouble efforts to get girls with disabilities in particular back to school.
We also discussed ways that gender and disability inclusion can be integrated into existing and new education financing mechanisms, such as GPE’s Girls’ Education Accelerator. The event closed with recommendations to promote inclusive education at the Global Education Summit and beyond. Youth activists, and youth-led organizations, networks, and disabled people's organizations have critical roles to play in policymaking processes. We heard examples of how youth-led and grassroots organizations are working to transform community attitudes towards education for learners with disabilities, tackle gender norms, bridge the digital divide, and raise awareness of the barriers and opportunities towards more gender-responsive and inclusive education.
Resources from the event include:
- Full recording
- UNGEI and Leonard Cheshire video shared: “Girls With Disabilities Have an Equal Right to Education,” developed with VSO, the Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network (CCYDN), Sightsavers, and Light for the World
- UNGEI and Leonard Cheshire’s advocacy brief, “Leave No Girl With Disabilities Behind,” developed with the CCYDN, Sightsavers, and Humanity & Inclusion
- Leonard Cheshire’s policy document, “Every Girl’s Right: Leonard Cheshire’s holistic approach to ensuring every girl receives a quality education”
- Sightsavers’ research and policy brief on promoting inclusive education for girls and boys in Central and West Africa
- Learn more about the Global Partnership for Education Girls’ Education Accelerator
- To express interest in joining the Inclusive Education and Early Childhood Community of Practice, which focuses on knowledge sharing and advocacy for funding of disability inclusive education and early childhood, please fill out this form.
On Thursday, July 22, GCE-US and partners, including the Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN), Early Childhood Developmental Action Network (ECDAN), International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNED), Light for the World, Save the Children, UNICEF, and World Vision International hosted the webinar, A Roadmap to Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education. With Maria Omare, Founding Executive Director of the Action Foundation, and ability activist Chaeli Mycroft, Executive Director of the Chaeli Foundation co-moderating, the session highlighted lessons learned in the policy, financing, and implementation of inclusive education.
Speakers included: Hon. Bimala Rai Paudyal of the International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNEd); Zacarias Zicai, Country Director of Light for the World Mozambique; Sarah Osborne, Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Universal Education, Brookings; Divya Lata, Education Specialist at UNICEF New York; Moses Abiero, Programme Manager at the Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN); Viktoria Midelauri, Education and Disability Advisor at World Vision International; Ayse Kocak, Education in Emergencies Technical Advisor at Save the Children International; Clement Kabiligi, Unit Coordinator for Education at the Imbuto Foundation; and Jennifer Rigg with GCE-US. A panel discussion and interactive activities allowed participants to share experiences and identify ways that promising practices can be adapted and scaled up in different resource settings.
Resources from the event include:
- Hon. Bimala Rai Paudyal's article "Legislators to Advocates and Change Agents A story of ECD Caucus of Parliamentarians to promote Early Childhood Development in Nepal", from the International Parliamentary Network for Education
- "Leave No Child Behind, Invest In Early Years" Report, shared by Light for the World
- UNICEF's Early Childhood Education (ECE) Accelerator Toolkit
- Brookings Insitute's research on costing for early childhood development
- Save the Children's IDELA Network and Tool
- MEQA app–a quality assurance tool to support learning in pre-schools, community, and home-based learning activities, shared by World Vision International
- Imbutu Foundation's Early Childhood Development and Family website
- Link to join the Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN)
- Sign up for the Inclusive Education and Early Childhood Community of Practice
GCE-US also supported the development of two events on Universal Design for Learning: Impact on policy, practice, and partnerships for inclusive education and From Commitments to Action: Financing for Inclusive Education.
The event on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) began with a plenary session that provided a brief background of UDL, and an overview of each of the breakout sessions. This was followed by breakout sessions on research, policy, systems, and classroom in order to offer further insights into different areas of UDL and gather information from participants and speakers alike to answer key questions about UDL to contribute to a white paper currently in the works. Event partners included:
Christoffel-Blindenmission Christian Blind Mission (CBM), International Disability Alliance (IDA), GCE-US, The Rise Institute, the UDL Approach, and World Learning.
At the event on Financing for Inclusive Education, we heard from policymakers, youth activists, and advocates about various approaches to financing inclusive education. This included an overview of the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report on Inclusion and Education and its recommendations. A few other highlights included hearing from a Nepali disability rights advocate, Shiva Shreshtha, who spoke to what inclusion means to him. We also heard from the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education from Sierra Leone, Moinina David Sengeh, about the “radical inclusion” policies that they are working on implementing across the country. Event partners included International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), International Disability Alliance, GCE-US, GLAD Network, UNESCO, and the World Bank.
While the sessions differed in their foci and emphasis within inclusive education, the broad recommendations for many are similar and can be summarized in the following overarching recommendations:
- We want to see a fully-funded Global Partnership for Education, to help us achieve SDG4 and SDG5. With this funding, GPE must demonstrate a strengthened commitment to equity and inclusion when it comes to funding. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend urgent action and funding to tackle the digital divide, especially for learners with disabilities.
- COVID-19 back-to-school plans and education recovery strategies must prioritize disability-inclusive and gender-responsive education. This includes greater investment in the training, development, and recruitment of qualified teachers and educational support staff, especially female teachers.
- When developing and implementing education funding packages and strategies, we recommend a meaningful partnership with, and funding for, youth with disabilities, and youth-led organizations, and disabled people's organizations.
- We recommend a stronger consideration for the ways in which gender norms and context influence learners’ experiences of education. For example, boys with disabilities may have very different experiences than girls with the same disabilities, and likewise for children with diverse learning needs and/or living in crisis settings.
- Collect, analyze, report, and increase funding for data that is disaggregated by gender and disability. Quality, consistent and standardized data will help us understand what prevents boys and girls with disabilities from accessing education, and what can be done to overcome these barriers.
- As a cross-cutting recommendation, we demand that GPE partner with community-based actors, including civil society organizations, disabled people's organizations, religious leaders, parents, young activists, and youth-led organizations and networks. Young people, people with disabilities, and girls should always have seats at the table where decisions are made. This is their future, and they must be involved in policy and decision-making processes.
Our Global Education Summit response urges all to take action and:
1. Urge Members of Congress to Support Education Funding
2. Speak out in support of the Global Partnership for Education
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The Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US) is a broad-based coalition of over 80 organizational members dedicated to ensuring universal quality education for all children and youth.
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