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In Event: The equity initiative: Sustainable systems are equitable systems: measuring equity of resource allocation in education
Expanding the work done by FHI-360 and the Education Equity Research Initiative, the 2020 GEM Report will map inclusive education policy across countries. With the aim of evaluating inclusive education policies in at least 100, regionally diverse countries, the national profiles will include the history of inclusive education in the country, government plans and policies, national definitions, models of inclusive and special needs education, and financing for inclusive and special needs education.
Analytical Framework. When included in education budgets, inclusive education tends to be financed in one of two ways. First, most countries have a system for identifying learners with special needs which then awards additional financial support to schools based on the number of identified students. This per pupil approach is considered an input funding model. The second approach is designed to provide schools with greater autonomy in distribution decisions by providing block grants. This flexible funding model is more adaptable, allowing schools to differentiate their solutions. Different funding models motivate different school behavior. One clear example is the number of identified students with special needs. Iceland uses an input funding model and with financing tracked to identification approximately one out of every five students are classified as students with special needs. In contrast, in Italy, which uses a flexible funding model, only one in one hundred students are identified as students with special needs (European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education).
Cross- country trends in the latter category will be examined against other key educational processes (i.e. teacher training, parental choice, including data in EMIS, etc.) and outcomes (i.e. enrollment, transition, completion, etc.). Additionally, the different funding approaches will be evaluated against country financial commitments to inclusive education. Although many countries have policy and commitments in place, the reality of funding falls short of the promise. For example, although section 5 of the 2006 Persons with Disabilities Act in Uganda dedicates 10% of the budget to the education needs of persons with disabilities, ten years after its enactment actual share of the budget to the department of special needs has not reached 1% (Disability Rights Fund, 2016).
Contribution. This analysis forms the foundation for the GEM Report 2020, forming an important locus of conversation around inclusive education financing a the national and global levels. The report will seek to facilitate policy recommendations for countries on financing inclusive education, depending on their history and culture.