Written with Jennifer Pye

Globally the disabled population continues to be the most disadvantaged and marginalized group within society with limited access to educational opportunities. According to UNESCO’s Global Education for All Monitoring Report 2010, “disability is one of the least visible but most potent factors in educational marginalization.”  On December 3rd, every year,  the U.N. celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

As part of an ongoing policy research activity, together with my colleagues Roberta Malee Bassett and Jennifer Pye, we have been looking at what is known about equity of access and success in tertiary education for people with disabilities.  It did not take our team long to appreciate how little international research and reliable data exist on the situation of students with disabilities in World Bank client countries. Gaining an accurate insight turned out to be a challenging undertaking; but little evidence available, most of it still anecdotal at this stage, suggests wide disparities in educational access and success at all levels of education.

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