Are official statistics published covering the number of persons with disabilities who graduate from university (and tertiary education in general)?


Please describe, if possible, how identification of such students has been made as, for example, many students with invisible disabilities choose not to self-identify at university level. 

In detail


An outstanding 63% of respondents confirm such statistics are not officially published or available due to several underlying reasons:

  • Inconsistent or unreliable statistics incomplete initiatives: most countries stated that statistics are not available centrally by social service ministries or other responsible ministries
  • Statistics on graduates with disability are often census-reliant, or depend NGOs’ surveys
  • Ethics: For Privacy, data protection/confidentiality reasons, statistics on gender, ethnicity, age on PWDs are not available in many countries (i.e.: Ivory Coast). For example, students may choose not to be labelled as “‘having a disability”

“It is very difficult to produce reliable statistics on a regular basis, since indeed, not all disabilities are visible and data registration may be different between associations of high schools/universities, or even between entities of the same association.” (Rudi Kennes, Director- expert on inclusion, Flemish Agency for People with a Disability, Belgium)

“The universities only know about disabilities if a students say or applies something (data protection rules). If students graduate, they have a degree so they are not label as disabled students but area amongst degree students. University does not specially state “blind student graduates, but it does give general statistics about known disabled students who study.” (Sven Kõllamets, Specialist, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia)

“In 2010 there was survey done by national planning body in cooperation with Indonesia University to develop data on educational status of persons with disabilities in Indonesia. However it is not official data; it is not regularly up dated.” (Sunarman Sukamto, CBR Development and Training Center (CBR_DTC), Solo, Indonesia)

CRPD Article

Article 24- Education

“1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education. With a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning directed to:

  1. The full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity;
  2. The development by persons with disabilities of their personality, talents and creativity, as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential;
  3. Enabling persons with disabilities to participate effectively in a free society.

2. In realizing this right, States Parties shall ensure that:

a) Persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability;

b) Persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality and free primary education and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live;

c) Reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements is provided;

d) Persons with disabilities receive the support required, within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education;

e) Effective individualized support measures are provided in environments that maximize academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion.

3. States Parties shall enable persons with disabilities to learn life and social development skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community. To this end, States Parties shall take appropriate measures, including:

a) Facilitating the learning of Braille, alternative script, augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication and orientation and mobility skills, and facilitating peer support and mentoring;

b) Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the deaf community;

c) Ensuring that the education of persons, and in particular children, who are blind, deaf or deafblind, is delivered in the most appropriate languages and modes and means of communication for the individual, and in environments which maximize academic and social development.

4. In order to help ensure the realization of this right, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to employ teachers, including teachers with disabilities, who are qualified in sign language and/or Braille, and to train professionals and staff who work at all levels of education. Such training shall incorporate disability awareness and the use of appropriate augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, educational techniques and materials to support persons with disabilities.

5. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities are able to access general tertiary education, vocational training, adult education and lifelong learning without discrimination and on an equal basis with others. To this end, States Parties shall ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities.”

(UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)

Article 31-Statistics and Data Collection

“1. States Parties undertake to collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data, to enable them to formulate and implement policies to give effect to the present Convention. The process of collecting and maintaining this information shall:

a) Comply with legally established safeguards, including legislation on data protection, to ensure confidentiality and respect for the privacy of persons with disabilities;

b) Comply with internationally accepted norms to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and ethical principles in the collection and use of statistics.

2. The information collected in accordance with this article shall be disaggregated, as appropriate, and used to help assess the implementation of States Parties’ obligations under the present Convention and to identify and address the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in exercising their rights.

3. States Parties shall assume responsibility for the dissemination of these statistics and ensure their accessibility to persons with disabilities and others.”

(UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)