Making inclusion count: a feasibility study to explore the collection and use of disability data in schools in Sierra Leone

Main objectives

  • To understand how disability is currently included within the national Education Management Information System (EMIS)
  • To assess how children with disabilities can be reliably identified in schools
  • To explore how the proposed metrics and processes can be embedded within the existing education system
  • To explore how data can be effectively used to improve education policies and practices


In collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education (MBSSE) and the Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues (SLUDI), Sightsavers is conducting a study to determine how data on disability is included in the EMIS and to assess its strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately identify the opportunities that exist for improvement. In addition, the study seeks to establish how children with disability are identified in schools, and how data from the study can be used to improve policies in the education sector. The study will be conducted in two districts, Bombali and Karena, where Sightsavers is currently implementing an inclusive education project.

The study draws on the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) framework and will be conducted in three interlinked phases: review of EMIS with regards to disability inclusion, testing approaches to school-based data collection, and evaluation of data collection approaches.

Results and learning will contribute to the education sector in Sierra Leone in several ways.

The EMIS in Sierra Leone has never been assessed to determine its effectiveness since it was established in 2006. This study will assess the EMIS to determine its strengths and weaknesses, and propose recommendations to improve the collection and management of disability data on EMIS.

Teachers will be trained to collect disability data from their schools, which will contribute to building skills in data management and assessing childhood disability at the school level. In addition to the collection of quality data, this intervention will help teachers to support children with special needs in the classroom, thus improving the teaching learning experience in schools.

Insights from this study will position Sightsavers to work with governments in low- and medium-income countries to use internationally accepted instruments to collect quality data collection.

An effective EMIS, and the production of quality disability data, will enable the government and its development partners to formulate sound policies to improve practices in the education sector. Overall, this study will contribute to improving the lives of children with disability in schools.

Study details
Start date
June 2021
Finish date
September 2023
Main contact
Steven Kaindaneh
Research Associate, Inclusive Data
  • Sierra Leone Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education
  • Sierra Leone Union on Disability