The Partnering for Education side-event at the Oslo Summit on Education for Development had an impressive array of High-level attendees, including Malala Yousafzai, Ban Ki-moon, Gordan Brown, Peter Vesterbacka (creator of Angry Bird) and Heads of State from Rwanda, Pakistan, South Sudan, Malawi  – all of whom were hosted by the Norwegian Minister Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende.  The speakers on Equity Panel, chaired by David Archer of ActionAid, did well to illustrate the plight of groups that are even more marginalised such children with disabilities and children who are orphaned, left to fend and fight for survival in situations of extreme poverty. Nafisa Baboo, Senior Advisor for LIGHT FOR THE WORLD and Coordinator of the IDDC Inclusive Education Task Group, focused in her speech on recommendations for states to ensure that the draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Education delivers on the promise of ‘Inclusive and equitable quality Education and lifelong learning opportunities for all” for persons with disabilities. The recommendations included improving data, teacher education, early childhood development as well as enhanced financing, policy and planning. The main recommendation, also reflected in the expert report Towards a Disability Inclusive Education, calls for the establishment of a Global Inclusive Education Facility for children with disabilities to address the financing and coordination gap between states and partners, promote robust policy dialogue, build evidence and support states in strategic implementation planning. The Facility would have “the primary mandate of coordinating responses to support the implementation of the disability targets in the Education For All (EFA) Framework and the SDGs thereby ensuring children with disabilities are able to fully benefit from global progress in education development”.

One of the most constructive outcomes of the Oslo Summit was the formation of a Global Commission on Education Financing, convened by UNESCO and the Norwegian Prime Minister Mme Sohlberg with the backing of the Presidents of Indonesia, Malawi and Chile; this commission will be led by Gordon Brown and aims to report to Ban Ki-moon by September 2016. This Commission could be hugely significant in changing financing trends for education for children with disabilities, so it is essential that we call on the Commission to address the issue of financing for inclusive education for learners with disabilities from the outset.

David Archer pointed out that, “It would have been good for the Summit to have done more to flag up the connections between girls’ education and other equity concerns in education, for example the fact that the poorest children are four times less likely to enrol in school than the richest – and are five times less likely to complete. Or indeed that the 93 million children under 15 with disabilities face some of the biggest obstacles in going to school and staying in school.” For more information please refer to the Oslo Declaration.

Heartfelt thanks goes out to all our comrades who passionately advocated for the rights of children with disabilities in Oslo: International Disability and Development Consortium Inclusive Education Task Group members, Marion Steff of SightSavers, Julia McGeown of Handicap International, Atlas Aliance, Mrs Ann-Marit Saebones, Ambrose Murangira, and the outstanding team from Atlas Alliance and Save the Children.

[Article by Nafisa Baboo, Light for the World and IDDC Inclusive Education TG Coordinator]

Source Article from IDDC

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