Recent years have seen a significant increase in the focus on education of children and young people with disabilities, particularly in low and middle income countries. There is growing realisation amongst the international community that in order to meet the new Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 4, which “Ensure(s) inclusive and equitable quality education and promote(s) lifelong learning opportunities for all”, the inclusion of children with disabilities is vital. While these are significant developments at the international level, they have a significant impact in shaping and changing national policies through mechanisms such as resource allocation (eg teacher training). However, what remains unclear is how this vision of including all children with disabilities into the education system can be best achieved in practice in Southern countries which are dealing with a huge range of other inequalities such as poverty, high out of school population and low quality of educational provision. This presentation will briefly draw on different policy and research which are of relevance to educating children with disabilities in Southern contexts and will examine the barriers faced in these settings, but also the opportunities in the system providing a nuanced reflection of the dilemmas inherent in providing meaningful education for all.
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