Does a person with disability have the right to receive free and compulsory primary education within the mainstream educational system?


Persons with disabilities must not be excluded from mainstream education – whether primary or secondary. Mainstream education must be both inclusive and of quality. All necessary support must be provided to ensure full and effective inclusion. This question refers to children and also to adults with disabilities who lacked the opportunities when they were young. Please describe any significant differences between the legal situation and the reality of everyday life.

In detail

The majority of countries revealed positive responses regarding the right to receive free and compulsory primary education for children with disability in mainstream education or specialised schools with 45% of positive responses. Another 45.5% of respondents claimed the right is partial and depends on types of disability. Although children with disabilities cannot legally be denied the right to education, they are often to be put in specialised schools, or specialised classes. Barriers on the implementation of the right for children with disabilities to access free and compulsory education include:

  • Lack of resources and training: A lack of specialised training, specialised staff, building accessibility, inadequate and inflexible curriculum for the needs of children with disabilities in local schools.
  • There is also a lack of representation of PWDs, DPOs in school committees which in turn, affects the issues mentioned above.
  • Children with other than physical disabilities are more commonly excluded from mainstream education. If accepted into local schools, many suffer from exclusion either due to being put in segregated classrooms, to socially discriminatory environment, or due to a lack of staff preparedness to socially integrate and accommodate them.

Good practises were highlighted such as Professional inclusive programmes responding to specific needs of children with disability from kindergarten in France.