Fast-growing, easy-to-replicate methodology to evaluate and improve inclusion in schools
- Model Program Approach
- Country of Implementation
- Start Year
- First published
“Perkins is closing the gap between exclusion and inclusive education because we know that every child can learn.” Daniela Gissara, Assistant Director, International Partnerships, Perkins School for the Blind
Perkins School for the Blind is a large US-based but globally active organization supporting education for children with disabilities. Perkins runs the Model Program Approach to improve inclusive education systematically for children with disabilities in 15 countries across three continents. Using its Perkins Quality Improvement process and methodology, it evaluates existing quality of learning, and then establishes a baseline and goals for improvement together with schools and governments. By the end of June 2023, Perkins had reached over 1 million children through 133 programmes in 15 countries.
Most children with disabilities, particularly those living in low- and middle-income countries, lack access to quality inclusive learning.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Perkins School for the Blind, founded in 1829, is the oldest private yet non-profit school for the blind in the United States. For many years it has also been working abroad in middle- and low-income countries. The Model Program Approach is a teachable, replicable method that systematically improves pedagogy for children with disabilities. The approach evolved from Perkins’ 200 years of experience teaching children with complex disabilities on its in Watertown, Massachusetts campus. Model Programs employ Perkins educational concepts such as child-led learning, choice-making, total communication, and active learning. The Model Program Approach is practical and hands-on to strengthen the capacity of local leadership and staff to include children with disabilities in learning and community life. For example, teachers and parents across two schools in the Philippines received coaching and mentoring in priority areas identified by the Perkins Quality Improvement process. As a result, children with disabilities in these schools demonstrated improved reading performance and an increase in their literacy assessment scores. The Perkins Quality Improvement process is used to help design and co-create the training, mentoring, and coaching plan for educators, administrators, parents, caregivers, and community-based practitioners who need specialized skills to help these children learn.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The annual budget for the international work is approximately $4 million. Donors include the UBS Optimus Foundation, Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Bhutan Foundation, and Reinhard Frank Stiftung. The Model Program Approach has already been replicated globally. For example, in Mexico the first model programme was established in the city of Merida in 2019. In 2023 the model has been replicated in 22 schools, reaching 56,000 children. (Awardee 2024)