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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality


Article 24 - Education
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Disability-specific instruments


Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, forty-eighth session, resolution 48/96, annex, of 20 December 1993

Rule 6 - Education

States should recognize the principle of equal primary, secondary and tertiary educational opportunities for children, youth and adults with disabilities, in integrated settings. They should ensure that the education of persons with disabilities is an integral part of the educational system.

General educational authorities are responsible for the education of persons with disabilities in integrated settings. Education for persons with disabilities should form an integral part of national educational planning, curriculum development and school organization.

Education in mainstream schools presupposes the provision of interpreter and other appropriate support services. Adequate accessibility and support services, designed to meet the needs of persons with different disabilities, should be provided.

Parent groups and organizations of persons with disabilities should be involved in the education process at all levels.

In States where education is compulsory it should be provided to girls and boys with all kinds and all levels of disabilities, including the most severe.

Special attention should be given in the following areas:

o Very young children with disabilities;

o Pre-school children with disabilities;

o Adults with disabilities, particularly women.

To accommodate educational provisions for persons with disabilities in the mainstream, States should:

o Have a clearly stated policy, understood and accepted at the school level and by the wider community;

o Allow for curriculum flexibility, addition and adaptation;

o Provide for quality materials, ongoing teacher training and support teachers.

Integrated education and community-based programmes should be seen as complementary approaches in providing cost-effective education and training for persons with disabilities. National community-based programmes should encourage communities to use and develop their resources to provide local education to persons with disabilities.

In situations where the general school system does not yet adequately meet the needs of all persons with disabilities, special education may be considered. It should be aimed at preparing students for education in the general school system. The quality of such education should reflect the same standards and ambitions as general education and should be closely linked to it. At a minimum, students with disabilities should be afforded the same portion of educational resources as students without disabilities. States should aim for the gradual integration of special education services into mainstream education. It is acknowledged that in some instances special education may currently be considered to be the most appropriate form of education for some students with disabilities.

Owing to the particular communication needs of deaf and deaf/blind persons, their education may be more suitably provided in schools for such persons or special classes and units in mainstream schools. At the initial stage, in particular, special attention needs to be focused on culturally sensitive instruction that will result in effective communication skills and maximum independence for people who are deaf or deaf/blind.


World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons

Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, thirty-seventh session, Resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982

Education and training

Member States should adopt policies which recognize the rights of disabled persons to equal educational opportunities with others. The education of disabled persons should as far as possible take place in the general school system. Responsibility for their education should be placed upon the educational authorities and laws regarding compulsory education should include children with all ranges of disabilities, including the most severely disabled.

Member States should allow for increased flexibility in the application to disabled persons of any regulation concerning admission age, promotion from class to class and, when appropriate, in examination procedures.

Basic criteria are to be met when developing educational services for disabled children and adults. These services should be:

Individualized, i.e, based on the assessed needs mutually agreed upon by authorities, administrators, parents and disabled students and leading to clearly stated curriculum goals and short term objectives which are regularly reviewed and where necessary revised;

Locally accessible, i.e., within reasonable travelling distance of the pupil's home or residence except in special circumstances;

Comprehensive, i.e., serving all persons with special needs ir- respective of age or degree of disability, and such that no child of school age is excluded from educational provision on grounds of severity of disability or receives educational services significantly inferior to those enjoyed by any other students;

Offering a range of choice commensurate with the range of special needs in any given community. Integration of disabled children into the general educational system requires planning by all parties concerned.

If, for some reason, the facilities of the general school system are inadequate for some disabled children, schooling for these children should then be provided for an appropriate period of time in special facilities. The quality of this special schooling should be equal to that of the general school system and closely linked to it.

The involvement of parents at all levels of the educational process is vital. Parents should be given the necessary support to provide as normal a family environment for the disabled child as is possible. Personnel should be trained to work with the parents of disabled children.

Member States should provide for the participation of disabled persons in adult education programmes, with special attention to rural areas if the facilities of regular adult education courses are in- adequate to meet the needs of some disabled persons, special courses or training centres may be needed until the regular programmes have been modified. Member States should grant disabled persons possibilities for education at the university level

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