Towards Inclusive Education: The Impact of Disability on School Attendance in Developing Countries

Innocenti Working Paper No. 2016-03

41 Pages Posted: 23 May 2016

See all articles by Suguru Mizunoya

Suguru Mizunoya

Master of Global Political Economy Programme

Sophie Mitra

Fordham University

Izumi Yamasaki

Gakushuin University

Date Written: May 20, 2016


The paper aims to reduce the global knowledge gap pertaining to the impact of disability on school attendance, using cross-nationally comparable and nationally representative data from 18 surveys in 15 countries that are selected among 2,500 surveys and censuses. These selected surveys administered the Washington Group Short Set (WGSS) of disability-screening questions, covering five functional domains of seeing, hearing, mobility, self-care, and remembering, and collected information on educational status. Using both descriptive and econometric approaches, the paper finds that (i) the average disability gap in school attendance stands at 30% in primary and secondary schools in 15 countries; (ii) more than 85% of disabled primary-age children who are out of school have never attended school; (iii) the average marginal effect of disability on primary and secondary school attendance is negative and significant (-30%), and (iv) countries that have reached close to universal primary education report high ratios of disabled to non-disabled out-of-school children indicating that general education policies to improve access do not effectively mainstream disabled children in education, and (v) disabled children confront the same difficulties in participating in education, regardless of their individual and socio-economic characteristics.

Keywords: Out-of-school children, disability, Education for All, inclusive education

Suggested Citation

Mizunoya, Suguru and Mitra, Sophie and Yamasaki, Izumi, Towards Inclusive Education: The Impact of Disability on School Attendance in Developing Countries (May 20, 2016). Innocenti Working Paper No. 2016-03, Available at SSRN: or

Suguru Mizunoya (Contact Author)

Master of Global Political Economy Programme ( email )

Shatin, N.T.
Hong Kong
Hong Kong


Sophie Mitra

Fordham University ( email )

441 East Fordham road
Bronx, NY 10458
United States


Izumi Yamasaki

Gakushuin University ( email )

1-5-1 Mejiro
Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-8588
United States

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