Equitable Financing for Disability-Inclusive Education

Report from Brussels by François Carbonez
Photo: Jie Li (Save the Children China) and Elie Bagbila (Light for the World Burkina Faso)

In the broader context of the European Disability and Development Week, an initiative of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), Light for the World International and our colleagues from Save the Children organized a panel discussion on Equitable Financing for Disability-inclusive Education in Brussels.

It was important to bring the focus on inclusive education in EU international cooperation, as well as the responsibility for the EU to do all it can for inclusive education. Indeed, the EU is a State Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which sets out the right to free, quality inclusive education at all levels. The EU also subscribes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including its pledge to ‘leave no one behind’, and the specific Goal 4 ensuring ‘Inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. Adding to this the status of the EU as the lead donor of Official Development Assistance, the EU has a key role to play in ensuring inclusive education, and needs to act accordingly.

Our panel discussion was introduced by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ádám Kósa (EPP, Hungary), an active member of the Development Committee of the European Parliament, who highlighted the importance of inclusive education, and the support of the European Parliament in making sure EU development cooperation does not forget about it.

Input: experiences from China and Burkina Faso

It was followed by presentations, by Jie Li, of Save the Children China, who presented her experience in implementing inclusive education in different projects in China, and from Light for the World Burkina Faso’s very own Élie Bagbila who talked about inclusive education in Burkina Faso and the work of the organization in that domain. Both of us gave us invaluable insight into the challenges and obstacles facing us in the field of inclusive education, be it physical, financial, or cultural barriers.

The discussion was also the occasion to present some of the findings of the #CostingEquity report of IDDC, drafted in collaboration with Light for the World and other members of the IDDC Inclusive Education Task Group. You can download the #CostingEquity report here.

Looking at the future, and at achieving the Agenda 2030, our event highlighted how important Inclusive Education is as a topic, along with the importance of our organizations’ work in that field. It will remain a key instrument in ensuring no one is left behind, as this panel discussion made abundantly clear.