Project Type: Research

Themes: Assistive & Accessible Technology, Inclusive Educational Technology

Technology for Disability Inclusive Education: A call for participation

An ugandan boy in a full classroom raises his hand to ask something to teacher.

Globally there are 291 million children who live with a disability and almost 95% of them live in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, with higher concentrations in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the latest Global Education Monitoring Report 2020 by the UNESCO, children with disabilities are 10% less likely to complete primary school than their non-disabled counterparts and 19% less likely to gain reading proficiency. Gender plays a significant part in access to education for many children with disabilities, and girls with disabilities tend to face further marginalisation and exclusion from school.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption of the education system globally affecting the lives of more than 1.5 billion students and their families. The risk is that children with disabilities, who are already marginalised, will be further left behind by the closure of schools. At the same time, the pandemic could present an opportunity to rethink accessible and inclusive education. With schools closed, policymakers have leveraged a combination of ‘high-tech’ (online learning), ‘low-tech’ (radio and TV broadcasting) and ‘no-tech’ (provision of workbooks and textbooks) educational provision and ensure that it is fit for the local context.

To better understand these issues, the Global Disability Innovation Hub is working on a landscape review on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Educational Technologies (EdTech) for Disability-Inclusive Education for the World Bank as part of the Inclusive Education Initiative (IEI). The research looks at how ICT and EdTech can improve the learning outcomes of children with disabilities at primary school level and how factors such as national policies, teacher training programmes and technology availability and distribution affect their use. We are looking at the situation more generally at a global level, but we are also conducting more-in-depth research in five countries identified with the World Bank: Nepal, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya. It is hoped that this research will help create new policies, initiatives and funding opportunities that can support the use of ICT and EdTech in a more inclusive and effective way.

As a first step we are conducting a Global survey on Information and Communication Technologies for Disability-Inclusive Education and we are inviting all individuals, researchers, educators and other professionals who have relevant practitioner or personal experience on EdTech and Inclusive education to fill in this short survey to help us understand the level of access and the impact of EdTech for children with disabilities in different countries. To complement this data, we will also conduct interviews with key stakeholders including representatives of parents and teachers, disabled persons organisations, non-government organisations, innovators and government stakeholders in the five counties of interest. At the end of our research, we will also discuss our findings with a roundtable of global experts to derive recommendations at national and international level before wider dissemination.

If you are interested in this research and you would like to know more, you can get in touch with Dr Maria Kett (m.kett@ucl.ac.uk).