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Monitoring Educational Rights for Girls with Disabilities Project, Final Report
Dr. Xuan Thuy Nguyen – Mount Saint Vincent University (now at Carleton University)
Co-investigators, Collaborators, Partners & Research Assistants
Dr. Claudia Mitchell – McGill University
Dr. Naydene de Lange – Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Dr. Marcia Rioux – Disability Rights Promotion International, York University
Dr. Nguyen Thi Hoang Yen – former Vice Director, Vietnamese Institute of Educational Sciences
Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan Anh – Director, Action to Community Development Center
Ms. Le Anh Lan – UNICEFF Vietnam
Ms. Do Thi Huyen – Chairwoman, Disabled Person’s Organization (DPO) of North Tu Liem
Nghiem Thi Thu Trang
Do Thi Hong Thuan
This report is built on the findings of the Monitoring Educational Rights for Girls with Disabilities in Vietnam (MRGD) project, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (2013-2015). This project aimed to address the lack of specific knowledge about girls with disabilities in Vietnam, and to set the stage for developing social activist strategies for their inclusion. To understand the experiences of girls with disabilities in and outside of Vietnamese schools, we piloted the study in North and South of Tu Liem districts in Vietnam. By supporting girls and women with disabilities to understand their educational rights, this study offered a participatory approach to monitoring rights to education through its engagement with the local knowledge on human rights and inclusive education for girls with disabilities in and out of schools.
The right to education for girls with disabilities is an integral part of the human rights paradigm that is interrelated and multi-faceted. This study demonstrated that systemic discrimination in relation to disability, gender, adolescent and ethnicity; forms of violence and social exclusion; and disrespect for difference in and out of school, were the key challenges for the inclusion of girls with disabilities in North and South Tu Liem districts. These systemic forms of discrimination perpetuated inequality in Vietnamese schools. The study highlights the need to take into account cultural factors in relation to socio-political issues, such as relationships between girls with disabilities and their family members, teachers, and non-disabled peers including boys and girls, in affecting their decision-making about their education. The lack of quality education for all girls with disabilities remains a concern from the current findings, indicating that a more inclusive, quality education system should be put in place for all children, including girls with disabilities.
Monitoring educational rights is an ongoing process ensuring that the rights of girls and women with disabilities are respected and fulfilled. This study has set a stage for raising the voices of girls and women with disabilities in Vietnam and fostering their collective activism. The study offered a number of recommendations by girls and women with disabilities in relation to inclusive education, policy dialogues and development, community engagement, communication, and networking.
Recommendations from girls with disabilities
- Develop an inclusive ethos in schools through transforming educational policies and practices.
- Consult people with disabilities through policy dialogues, development, advocacy, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
- Engage community leaders and practitioners in discussions on Inclusive Education through communication strategies
Recommendations from women with disabilities
- Develop strategies for women and girls with disabilities to construct their knowledge, engagement, and activism through training and research.
- Strengthen opportunities of collective activism with women and girls with disabilities through building a local and transnational network of advocacy.
Recommendations Coming Out of the Project as a Whole
- Strengthen and broaden the scope of the MRGD intervention into more disadvantaged areas.
- Strengthen a gender equality lens in the MRGD’s interventions so as to address the challenges to inclusive education for both boys and girls with disabilities.
- Expand the use of participatory methodologies in designing, researching, and programming.
- Develop knowledge mobilization strategies that place community engagement at the center of social change.
This study was conducted by a multinational research team at Mount Saint Vincent University, York University, and McGill University in Canada, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, in partnership with UNICEF, and the grassroots Action to Community Development Centre in Vietnam.
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