Exclusion of children with a disability from education negatively affects national economic growth. Education is important for children with a disability to acquire skills that allow them to gain employment, and thus address a key driver of poverty. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2015 to better understand the relationship between disability, education and health among children in India. Across 17 states in India, the study sample included 39,723 households with a child aged 0-59 months (163,400 individual cases in total), based on randomised cluster sampling methodology. Key outcomes of interest were school attendance, completion of early childhood education and highest level of education. The study found one percent prevalence of disability, nearly double among boys (1.38%) compared to girls (0.77%), and linked disability to lower level access to education and highest level of education. This study confirms the negative relationship between disability and educational exposure among children, and highlights that India’s efforts to make education a fundamental right of every child have not yet translated to benefits for children with a disability. There remains a pressing need for well-designed longitudinal studies that capture the barriers and protective factors of school attendance at every transition between stages of schooling in children with a disability.
Disability and the Global South, 2019, Vol.6, No. 2