Domains: Research, Programmes

Themes: Assistive & Accessible Technology, Inclusive Educational Technology

World Bank: A Landscape Review of ICT for Disability-Inclusive Education

Information and communication technology (ICT) tools can have a catalytic effect in advancing both educational access and learning outcomes for children with disabilities.

Despite tremendous potential, a gap exists between technology advancements and their large-scale application in educating children with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries. This landscape review of ICTs for disability-inclusive education by the Inclusive Education Initiative seeks to understand the current status and trends in the practice of educational technology (EdTech) and the use of ICT in improving the educational participation and outcomes of children with disabilities. The review explores what factors enable or restrict this improvement within the wider EdTech ecosystem.

The Landscape Review

GDI Hub partnered with the World Bank to design and conduct the research, and author the  ICT Landscape review: The use of ICT in improving the educational participation and outcomes of children with disabilities.

This report is a global knowledge product from the Inclusive Education Initiative (IEI)—a multi-donor trust fund on disability-inclusive education managed by the World Bank, with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The review explores how ICT supported the continued learning of children with disabilities during COVID-19 related school closures. The report shares insights from the experiences of multiple stakeholders, including teachers, parents and caregivers, government officials, and civil society. Global insights were supplemented with country case studies to draw out examples of what is and is not working across 6 P’s: people, products, pedagogy, policy, place, and provision.

It also explores the Innovation-Enabled Education For All approach that incorporates four interconnected components to harness the potential of educational and assistive technology into tangible and successful learning outcomes for children with disabilities.

Girls in a classroom environment
Image: girls learning in a classroom environment

Purpose of the review

To assess and understand:

  1. the current status and trends in educational technology and whether major educational technologies are accessible to students with different types of disabilities
  2. good practice examples and case studies of ICT solutions and practices that have shown to improve learning access and outcomes
  3. recommendations to strengthen supply and demand side interventions and innovations within the broader components of the accessible EdTech ecosystem including strengthening skills, policies and institutions, and content creation


The research identified that globally a shift in perspective is required to embrace EdTech as part of an inclusive learning framework that is contextually specific and can support the inclusive education of children with disabilities.

The landscape review highlighted that there is no one single “magic bullet” solution - but rather a need for a multidimensional and integrated approach that puts the child at the center, and concerted investments in scaling the skills, knowledge, and capacity of the human stakeholders engaged in the selection, purchase, application, and use of technologies for children with disabilities.

Four key recommendations where identified; these are explored fully in the landscape review.

  1. Strengthen systems and shape markets to systematically improve the provision of inclusive education and reduce the cost of assistive ICT for inclusive-education products.
  2. Develop a “massive-small” technology and service infrastructure for inclusive education to enable massive-scale distribution of evidence-based, small-scale innovations.
  3. Strengthen community, family, and out-of-school learning supports to ensure continuity of learning across different settings.
  4. Capture better data and evidence vital to policy making, identification of learners, early intervention, and mapping of progress.