EU Commissioner Piebalgs on education for children with disabilities

Last week, Global Partnership for Education asked for questions to be submitted to the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs. The top 5 questions and answers have been published and are available to view on this website. Here is one of the questions, referring to education for children with disabilities.

What measures are you putting in place that will specifically target children with disabilities, especially in the poorest countries so that they are not left behind as the case has been in the past?

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Disability and poverty form a vicious circle. People with disabilities are too often faced with additional barriers to education and training which limit their job opportunities leading in turn to poverty, social exclusion and restricted access the basic human rights. Here is what the EU is doing about it: The European Commission currently runs about 350 development projects in almost 90 countries specifically targeting persons with disabilities. These projects build, for example, accessible school infrastructure for children with disabilities. In addition to these projects, which are worth around €150 million, many other projects address disability as a cross-cutting issue.

These projects are implemented both in the EU’s bilateral cooperation with partner countries and in partnership with civil society organizations (including disabled people’s organizations).

The EU’s Agenda for Change was designed to give our development policy greater impact and aims to set aside at least 20% of future aid for human and social development. This included social protection and social inclusion. The UN report on the post-2015 development agenda, also paves the path for greater inclusion of people with disabilities.The EU will continue to pursue the objective to include disability and ensure accessibility in all development-related policies, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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