Girls and boys with disabilities in west and central Africa have the same rights to quality inclusive education as all children. This should enable them to participate actively and meaningfully in learning and society. However, at present, these children are largely excluded from education and learning. Those children with disabilities who do attend school face large ‘disability gaps’ in learning outcomes and attainment due to systemic inequalities, poor quality teaching and governance.
The current global COVID-19 pandemic is compounding inequalities, exclusion and marginalisation, as children with disabilities face major hurdles to home learning and to returning to schools as they reopen. Changes to infrastructure as a result of the pandemic, curriculum modifications to accommodate catch-up programmes and the enrolment of incoming grade 1 students all put education systems under intense pressure – with negative consequences for equity.