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Review of education systems in low- and middle income countries

Ashika (5 years old) is a low vision client of Biratnagar Eye Hospital, a CBM partner in Nepal. She has undergone eye examinations and obtained glasses to help her see better.

CBM commissioned a systematic review titled - Education systems for quality education for all in low- and middle income countries – how to become more inclusive?

CBM commissioned Review

CBM commissioned a systematic review to bring together the most current evidence on education systems that allow for quality education for children with disabilities in low- and middle income countries to inform CBM’s work as well as the education sector in general.

This systematic literature review analysed information from 131 peer reviewed articles published from 2005 concerning primary level education of children with disabilities in low and middle income countries. The review analysed and focused on indicators of quality education outcomes for children with disabilities educated in both mainstream and special education settings.

Access the Review

You can access the full report of the Review here, along with a policy brief.

Main aspects of review

The main aspects identified in the review are:
  1. Educational outcomes need to drive the inclusive education agenda rather than a focus purely on rights to access.
  2. Children with disabilities are not being well served by the current situation in respect to either Education for all or inclusive education.
  3. The lack of clarity and consistency over the meaning of inclusive education in relation to children with disabilities is leading to considerable variation and some degree of confusion in its implementation by low and middle income governments.
  4. Not enough attention is being paid by the donor community to funding disability inclusive education as part of national education plans creating a situation where children with disabilities are not being well served by education systems as a whole – regardless as to whether they are placed in special or mainstream education programs.
  5. In general, the special education sector is ill-prepared to support disability inclusive education and in many situations needs to be significantly improved before it can begin to support the mainstream to be effectively inclusive.
  6. The genuine cost of supporting children with disabilities in mainstream schools needs to be understood in the context of academic performance rather than just in terms of enrolment.
  7. The training of teachers to adopt inclusive classroom practices is very important. The more practical the training the more positive the outcomes. Pre-service training benefits from practical components that expose new teachers to disability inclusion and learning about the nature of impairments help them to feel more prepared.
  8. In reality, curricula and pedagogy tend to be highly centralised offering teachers little flexibility when it comes to changing their approaches in the classroom. So for inclusive education to work more systemic level change needs to happen to enable teachers to practice inclusion.

The findings from the systematic review will inform CBM’s approaches and practices in education. Furthermore CBM’s experiences of good practices in quality education for all will be more strongly promoted and published to enhance the evidence base and be used for learning and application in other contexts.

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Access the Review here

You can access the full report of the Review, as well as the policy brief.


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