Changing Course, Transforming Education– CBM celebrates the UN International Day of Education

Mekfera Nesru, (7) and Tameremaryam Deme, (7) are students with low vision, learning using Braille at a resource unit for children with visual impairments in Ethiopia. Their teacher, Bezunesh, is a teacher with a visual impairment who teaches students Braille writing and reading. Ⓒ CBM

This is the 4th year of the UN International Day of Education, on 24 January. This year the theme is "Changing Course, Transforming Education".

The last couple of years have seen a transformation in the way education has been delivered all over the world. Covid-19 has caused a crisis of unprecedented reach and proportion, touching most countries and their citizens in so many ways. Education went from being delivered in the classroom to being non-existent, or delivered online or at a distance, almost overnight in most countries.

This year’s International Day of Education is focused on strengthening a return to education. CBM and partners look forward to continuing to support education as schools, colleges and universities re-open.

Supporting inclusive education throughout the pandemic

Throughout the pandemic, CBM supported partners to continue their provision through low and high-tech delivery of services and on-going capacity development, following Covid safety guidelines to keep everyone involved as safe as possible.  These included:

  • Provision of Covid-safety measures for hygiene and sanitation, and production of accessible information about the virus
  • Provision of psycho-social support for children, caregivers, and educators
  • Capacity building and learning exchanges through online webinars e.g., training in Universal Design for Learning, Training of Trainers in Inclusive Education
  • Supporting Ministries of Education to ensure accessibility in their distance / online on-going education provision
  • Ensuring that children with disabilities in remote communities were provided with support and on-going learning from fieldworker visits, learning materials being delivered to their house
  • Provision of smart phones or internet connection where possible
  • De-centralising provision from Inclusive Education Resource Centres through the development of Community Resource Centres supported remotely through internet connections
  • On-going remote, supervised therapeutic intervention e.g. physiotherapy, speech and language therapy

The right to quality inclusive education is a key pillar for global development. This is stated in Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 where quality inclusive education for all as part of lifelong learning is emphasised to ensure that no one is left behind. This will help to build a sustainable, inclusive, and peaceful future.

Global Disability Summit 2022

Disability inclusive education is one of the key priorities of this year’s Global Disability Summit, which is co-hosted by the Government of Norway, the Government of Ghana, and the International Disability Alliance (IDA).

When children with disabilities are fully included, learning in school, and reaching their full potential, everyone benefits. To realise this vision, states, donors, development and humanitarian actors should enhance disability inclusion in legislative and institutional frameworks, programming and service delivery.

CBM and our partners are committed to promote the right of all children, including those with disabilities, to education. CBM supported the Thematic Day on Inclusive Education on 20 January as part of the summit and along with other members of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), we will support the Global Action on Disability Network, IDA and IDDC side event on educational technology.