Education is central to individual evolution and must be a right for all. It provides each person with the possibility to fully participate in society, to access the labour market and to develop one's potential.
In some EU Member States, children and young persons with disabilities can benefit from the mainstream education system. In other countries, the situation is very different and in some cases, pupils with disabilities are totally excluded from schools and universities.
Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities affirms the right to education as a fundamental one. Despite the limited competences of the European Union in this field, the European Disability Forum believes that the right to education should be considered and protected by the EU, as being part of its fundamental values and principles and a universal human right.
Europe 2020 strategy aims at reducing under than 10% the rate of school drops-out and to increase to at least 40% the share of persons having completed tertiary or equivalent education. Early school leavers rates are higher for pupils with disabilities due to barriers (architectural, legal, attitudinal) that hamper their access to education especially for children in need of high level support.
The European Disability Forum works to make sure that quality education and freedom of choice becomes a reality for all persons with disabilities in Europe.
In particular, EDF campaigns for:
- The right for persons with disabilities to access education and to choose the education system they want to follow;
- Persons with disabilities' right to benefit on equal basis with others from EU exchange schemes and opportunities to study and learn abroad;
- The right to learn throughout life;
- Accessible educational content and accessible Information and Communication Technologies
- Accessible school and university curricula (i.e. exams, etc.).