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The Importance of Inclusive Education – Message for Universal Children’s Day

(November 20th, 2016)

Toronto, Canada: Celebrated every year on November 20th, Universal Children’s Day promotes the well-being and human rights of every child in the world. In honour of the day, the World Blind Union (WBU) is taking the opportunity to highlight the importance of the right to a quality education for all children.

The WBU believes that quality education must include inclusive education for children who are blind or partially sighted. Inclusive education would allow children who are blind and partially sighted children to have the same access to quality education that sighted children already enjoy.

Unfortunately, barriers still persist for the majority of blind and partially sighted children to getting a quality education. Barriers include the lack of access to trained teachers who can educate their students as well as teach them blindness skills such as braille literacy and mobility, lack of accessible resources, especially educational materials in accessible formats including braille, and a lack of access to supportive technology such as technology for reading and writing in braille or low vision aids. All of these barriers prevent blind and partially sighted children from becoming independent and successful adults and it ensures that they will be left behind.

“There are too many children in the world who are unable to achieve their full potential due to a lack of access to quality education,” said Dr. Frances Gentle, President of the International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI).

Dr. Gentle added that ICEVI and the WBU are “working together to create a world in which children with blindness or low vision have equal access to quality education and lifelong learning, on the same basis as their sighted peers” and she called for the international community to champion the rights of blind and partially sighted children in order for them to achieve their full potential.

The WBU and ICEVI recently contributed to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ General Comment on the Right to Inclusive Education and we greatly support the work of the Committee in confirming its importance for children with disabilities. The Draft General Comment and our submission with ICEVI can be found at the following link:

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization that represents the estimated 285 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members consist of organizations of blind people advocating on their own behalf and organizations that serve the blind, in over 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment. Visit our website at


For further information, please contact:
Caitlin Reid, Communications Officer, World Blind Union