Inclusive education

GPE supports countries to build equitable and inclusive education systems where all children can learn in a safe and healthy environment free of discrimination

Despite dramatic improvements in access to school over the past decades, many children are still excluded from learning in safe, healthy and non-discriminatory environments. They include children with disabilities, and refugee and internally displaced children.

Children with disabilities are less likely to start school and if they do, they are unlikely to transition to secondary school. Their access to school is often limited by a lack of understanding about their needs, and a lack of trained teachers, classroom support, learning resources and facilities.

Inclusion means transforming schools so that they can respond to the diverse needs of all children – ensuring that they are not just in the classroom but safe, participating, and learning.

Half the world’s children experience violence in and around school, and many children live in countries where corporal punishment is not fully prohibited.

Denying children with disabilities their right to education has a lifelong impact on learning, achievement, and employment opportunities, hence hindering their potential economic, social, and human development.

Making schools safe, healthy and inclusive is a priority area of GPE 2025, the partnership’s strategic plan. GPE promotes the mainstreaming of equity and inclusion in all policies and plans to ensure that all children enjoy their basic human rights without discrimination.

Increased equity, gender equality and inclusion in access to education are fundamental to GPE’s mission.

Our results

of partner countries
were at or close to gender parity in primary completion in 2019
Almost 40%
of partner countries
provide pre-service or in-service teacher training on inclusive education in 2019
in GPE funding
supported activities promoting equity, gender equality and inclusion in 2019


GPE in action

Research and data: GPE has supported research and projects on disability, school health (including screening for disability and provision of eyeglasses), school-related gender-based violence, and refugee children.

GPE supports the development of methodological guidelines on education sector analysis for inclusive education, together with UNESCO-IIEP, UNICEF and the World Bank. GPE is also supporting improvements in education data on disability at country and global level, in partnership with UNESCO-UIS.

Planning, policy dialogue and financing: In partner countries, GPE promotes equity through its support for inclusive planning processes and implementation of inclusive education sector plans.

Countries have to allocate sufficient domestic funding, especially to primary education, to be eligible for GPE grants, and GPE’s results-based model requires that countries demonstrate results in equity and inclusion to receive their full allocation of funds.

GPE also works with partners to strengthen inclusive education sector policy dialogue through advocacy and social accountability grants and scales innovations relating to equity and inclusion in education through the Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX).

Advocacy: GPE advocates at global, regional, and national levels for safe, healthy and inclusive schools, and to ensure that refugees and internally displaced persons are included in national education systems.

Supporting countries to implement equity and inclusion activities: GPE grants support countries to build safe, health and inclusive schools, to train teachers to provide quality education for all students, and to overcome barriers for marginalized students.

Equity and inclusion webinars

This series of webinars titled Sharing innovations on making all children count focuses on collecting and using data on marginalized groups and education. It covers:

  • identification of disability and measurement of inclusive learning environments
  • the role of community and citizen-led initiatives
  • the use and limitations of new technologies in gathering better data.

A key objective is to convene partners working on these issues and to foster collaboration to hone and apply new ideas.

Access webinars

Latest blogs and news

March 06, 2021
Rwanda: Making strides in equity and inclusion
Rwanda is building a knowledge economy which will rest solidly on an educated human capital. With the help of GPE and other partners, the government is making education a priority, especially for young children, girls...