German activities

Promoting disadvantaged groups

Hand of a boy on the handrim of a wheelchair

Ethnic minorities, the urban and rural poor, people with disabilities and people living with HIV are often excluded from attending school. These disadvantaged groups are therefore a special focus of German development cooperation in the education sector. As the background, language and educational level of a child's parents have a marked influence on learning achievements, it is important to ensure that children have equal opportunities in education from the earliest stage possible.

Inclusive education

It is estimated that 93 to 150 million children worldwide are living with disabilities, most of them in developing countries. They do not only have to cope with certain physical or mental challenges. In many cases, they also suffer social exclusion. They are not enrolled in school or they drop out of school prematurely; their chances of continuing their education beyond the primary level are poor and later they often have difficulties finding suitable work. The same goes for ethnic minorities and speakers of lesser-used languages, people living in poverty, children who work and people living with HIV.

Inclusive education is about ensuring that all people have the same right to an education and can enjoy an education that meets their learning needs. It should not be the student who must adapt to the existing system, the education system should take account of the needs of all students – in all areas of education. Studies have shown the pedagogical, social and economic added value of inclusive education.

Basics in place, implementing experience is still to come

The political and legal foundations for non-discriminatory education have been laid, for example through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Under the heading of equality of opportunity, inclusion is becoming more and more important in international development policy. However, there is still little experience with implementation. With a view to learning more about inclusion, the BMZ is supporting a research project on inclusive education in Malawi and Guatemala. The findings will serve as a basis for defining concrete recommendations for action to promote inclusive education in development cooperation. Where possible, inclusion aspects are given increased attention in BMZ projects to promote basic and vocational education as a matter of principle.

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