Disabled children are commonly believed to be largely excluded from school in developing countries, but a new study shows that the difference between disabled and non-disabled children’s attendance is lower than expected.
Coauthor Hannah Kuper of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom, and her colleagues analyzed a survey of almost one million children supported by children’s charity Plan. Across these nations, disabled and non-disabled children were surveyed about issues such as education, health and poverty..
The survey found that, although the majority of disabled children were in school, they experience greater discrimination than non-disabled children.
The researchers found no clear relationship between disability and poverty, but disabled children were less likely than non-disabled children to be in school and were more likely to have reported a serious illness in the last year.
The interactive map shows how access to school for disabled and non-disabled children varies among the surveyed countries.
To quantify the imbalance between these groups, the researchers compared their respective school attendances. The resulting ‘odds ratio’ reflects the level of inequality between the two populations: the higher the number, the higher the inequality. It was calculated by comparing the percentage of disabled and non-disabled children in schools before correcting for age and gender imbalances within these groups.
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