Majority not enrolled in formal education

  • 65pc enrolled in primary school
  • 35pc enrolled in secondary school
  • 60pc not in any stream of education

More than half the children with disabilities in Bangladesh are not enrolled in any formal education, according to new national-level data.

The findings come from the recently-published National Survey on Persons with Disabilities (NSPD) 2021, conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) with technical support from Unicef, said a press release issued by Unicef yesterday.

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The survey reveals that among children with disabilities (aged 5-17 years), only 65 percent are enrolled in primary school and only 35 percent are enrolled in secondary school. In total, 60 percent of children with disabilities aged 5-17 years are not in education.

The survey also found that children with disabilities who do attend formal education lag academically by over two years for their age on average.

“The data from this national survey — the first of its kind by the BBS — highlights the challenges children with disabilities face growing up. The findings will support the government to formulate policies and initiatives to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities in Bangladesh,” said Iftekhairul Karim, BBS project director.

We need to do more for these children. We need to provide the support and services and we need to create an inclusive environment where they can thrive.

Sheldon Yett Unicef Representative to Bangladesh.

According to the survey, 1.7 percent of children in Bangladesh live with one of twelve types of disability defined in the Persons with Disability Rights and Protection Act 2013, while 3.6 percent of children face functional difficulty in at least one of the domains of seeing, hearing, walking, motor skills, communication, learning, playing or controlling behaviour.

“The new data highlights just how many children with disabilities in Bangladesh are losing out on education. We need to do more for these children. We need to provide the support and services and we need to create an inclusive environment where they can thrive,” said Sheldon Yett, Unicef Representative to Bangladesh.

Data from the survey also shed light on the difficulties that children with disabilities face as adults. Only one-third of persons with disabilities of working age are employed, with women with disabilities far more likely to be unemployed compared to men.

While 90 percent of persons with disabilities who are registered with the government receive disability allowances, the vast majority of them –about 65 percent — remain unregistered, the press release said.

Early identification and management of childhood disabilities are critical to maximising the potential of children. It is also critical to create an inclusive environment where families and service providers can support children with disabilities to participate actively in all spheres of life, read the release.


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