Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)
Blind Union (WBU)
Education Policy Statement
Reaffirming the right to
elementary, fundamental and compulsory education of all individuals enshrined
in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and renewed by the world
community at the 1990 World Conference on Education for All and the subsequent
World Education Forum, 2000;
Recalling the principles
contained in the 1982 UN World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons;
Acknowledging the right
to education as it is stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989;
Noting with satisfaction
the 1993 United Nations Standard Rules on Equalisation of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities, which urges States to ensure that the education of
persons with disabilities is an integral part of the general education system;
Endorsing the Salamanca
Statement on Principles, Policy and Practice in Special Needs Education;
Affirming the Millennium
Supporting the UNESCO Flagship,
“Education for All: The Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities:
Endorsing the Biwako Millennium
Framework for Action: towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society
for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific;
Advocating to the United
Nations for the adoption and subsequent implementation of the International
Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons
with Disabilities; The International Council for Education of People with Visual
Impairment (ICEVI) and the World Blind Union (WBU) jointly formulate and endorse
the following principles related to the education of blind and visually impaired
ICEVI and WBU:
A. Urge governments
1. Guarantee to blind and
visually impaired children, youth and adults the same rights and access to educational
services as is guaranteed to all children, youth and adults in accordance with
the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
2. Place the educational
services for blind and visually impaired children and youth under the same government
bodies as that of children without blindness or visual impairment.
3. Guarantee all blind and
visually impaired children and youth in integrated, inclusive, or special school
programs – as well as their teachers – access to the equipment, educational
materials and support services required, such as:
• books in Braille,
large print or other accessible formats, and
• low vision devices
for those who require them,
at the same time as non-disabled
students in order to facilitate their equal access to all aspects of the educational
services provided to other children.
4. Offer education of a
high quality and standard in a range of educational options, including special
5. Give prominence to the
voice of parents and (where appropriate) children and youth in decisions about
6. Provide quality literacy
and independence skills and lifelong learning opportunities for adult blind
and visually impaired persons who have not been given basic education in their
B. Teacher Training:
ICEVI and WBU will work
1. Promote special training
of teachers, parents, rehabilitation workers, and others, who provide education
and instruction to blind and visually impaired children, youth and adults.
2. Assure that teachers,
who are in integrated and inclusive school programs and have blind or low vision
students in their classrooms or those teachers who are in special schools for
such children, receive adequate training and skills in Braille and other educational
means in order to provide quality education.
3. Encourage remuneration
commensurate with qualifications and training to ensure that investments in
human resources are not lost.
4. Organise local, national
and regional seminars, training courses and conferences to update the skills
and knowledge of teachers and others working with blind and visually impaired
children, youth and adults.
C. Support from
ICEVI and WBU:
ICEVI and WBU pledge:
1. While there is agreement
between them, their willingness to work with governments to assist with information,
knowledge and guidance regarding the full range of educational options for blind
and visually impaired children, youth and adults, on the clear understanding
that their education is primarily a government responsibility.
2. To assist government
initiatives by helping to secure information about equipment and materials to
ensure equal access of all blind and visually impaired children and youth to
obtain a good education, regardless of their socio-economic level.
3. To promote the development
of programmes to educate and sensitise the general community to the needs of
blind and visually impaired children, youth and adults.
D. Early Childhood
ICEVI and WBU shall:
Acknowledge the critical
importance of the pre-school years to the long-term social, emotional and educational
development of blind and visually impaired children.
Recognise the need for
the development of appropriate services for very young and pre-school blind
and visually impaired children.
Encourage the screening,
early intervention and quality habilitation of blind and visually impaired children
by specially trained teachers and instructors.
E. Additional needs:
ICEVI and WBU will:
1. Promote the establishment
of programs and services for blind and visually impaired children and youth
with additional disabilities.
2. Promote programs and
services for deafblind children through efforts at community levels, awareness
raising, screening and human resource training.
3. Provide special attention
to the education and literacy needs of blind and visually impaired children,
youths and adults from especially vulnerable groups such as refugees and indigenous
F. Toward Action
by the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment
and the World Blind Union :
Therefore, ICEVI and WBU
1. Establish at an international
level, an ICEVI/WBU Joint Education Committee to:
a. Identify priorities
b. Request from governments, non-governmental organisations and United Nations
Agencies, the necessary material, technical and human resources to improve and
expand educational access for blind and visually impaired children, youth and
c. Offer their services and support to UN Specialised Agencies, governments,
local communities, educational organisations and authorities, NGOs, and organisations
of and for blind and visually impaired persons that are represented within ICEVI
d. Establish common strategies and coordinate efforts aimed at improving and
expanding access to educational services for blind and visually impaired children,
youth and adults throughout the world, in line with (c) above.
2. Encourage establishment
within each region of a joint ICEVI/WBU Committee with regional goals that are
reflective of the tenets of this document. Such regional committees should:
a. Include parents and other family members of the blind or visually impaired
child, or the youth himself/herself, where appropriate, in an effort to ensure
that established needs have taken into consideration all perspectives.
b. Ensure maximum impact of lobbying efforts directed at governments, international
bodies, and UN Specialised Agencies.
3. Promote the active participation
of ICEVI and WBU in international forums on education and related matters to
ensure that their respective memberships participate in decision-making at all
4. Jointly follow the progress and work of Education for All programs to ensure
the inclusion of the needs of blind and visually impaired children, youths and
5. Include information and
articles on joint actions in their respective publications: The Educator and
The World Blind.
6. Regularly update the readership on the work of the other.
7. Establish a link to each
other’s web pages.
8. Take all other necessary
actions to ensure that information concerning the educational needs of blind
and visually impaired persons is included in national and international publications
in the field of general education.
by President, ICEVI and President, WBU
INSTRUMENTS & INITIATIVES
1. 1948 Universal Declaration
of Human Rights: http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html
2. 1990 World Conference on Education for All: http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/ed_for_all/index.shtml
3. 2000 World Education Forum: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001211/121147e.pdf
4. 1982 UN World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/diswpa00.htm
5. 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child: http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm
6. 1993 UN Standard Rules on Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with
7. 1994 Salamanca Statement on Principles, Policy and Practice in Special Needs
8. 2000 Millennium Development Goals: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
9. UNESCO Flagship, “Education for All: The Right to Education for Persons
with Disabilities: Towards Inclusion”: http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/know_sharing/flagship_initiatives/index.shtml
10. Asian & Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003 – 2012: Biwako
Millennium Framework for Action: towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based
Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific: http://www.unescap.org/sps/disability.htm
11. Proposed United Nations comprehensive and Integral International Convention
on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities:
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR EDUCATION OF
PEOPLE WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENT (ICEVI)
The International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI),
is a global association of individuals and organizations that promotes equal
access to appropriate education for all visually impaired children and youth
so that they may achieve their full potential.
History of the Organization
Founded in 1952 in the Netherlands, the ICEVI conducted its Golden Jubilee conference
in the Netherlands from 28 July to 2 August 2002.
The 7 regions of ICEVI and their coverage of countries are as follows:
Africa Region : 52 countries
East Asia Region : 19 countries
Europe Region : 48 countries
Latin America Region : 19 countries
North America and the Caribbean Region : 15 countries
Pacific Region : 14 countries
West Asia Region : 26 countries
Currently, more than 4000
individuals and organizations in 170 countries are actively involved in ICEVI.
ICEVI works closely with International Non-Governmental Development Organizations
(NGDOs) and UN bodies such as UNESCO, UNICEF, and WHO.
ICEVI’s biannual magazine “The Educator” is available in inkprint
and Braille in both English and Spanish and is also posted on our website www.icevi.org
Currently, the Japanese language version is only available in electronic format
on our website. ICEVI also publishes a biannual electronic newsletter that is
currently distributed to 4000 individuals and organizations in 170 countries.
WORLD BLIND UNION
The World Blind Union (WBU)
is a non-political, non-religious, non-governmental and non-profit-making organisation.
WBU has consultative status within the UN ECOSOC and the UN Agencies. WBU is
divided into 6 regions: East Asia /Pacific (18 member countries), Asia (24 member
countries), Africa (51 member countries), Europe (44 member countries), North
America/Caribbean (3 countries 12 grouped countries) and Latin America (19 member
countries), all with constitutions of their own, representing 160 countries
and grouped countries with about 600 organizations. WBU is the sole voice of
the 180 Million blind and partially sighted persons in the world. The term ‘blindness’
includes both blindness and partial sight and ‘blind’ includes persons
who are blind or partially sighted.
The underlying idea of the World Blind Union is that everyone, including the
blind and partially sighted, is born equal and entitled to personal dignity
and fundamental freedom and human rights. These rights should be given fully
and without restriction regardless of disability, race, colour, gender, language,
religion, political opinion, national or social origin, birth or other status.
Purposes and Goals
• to promote prevention and treatment of blindness,
• to advance the well-being of blind and partially sighted people all
over the world, particularly in developing countries,
• to take actions against the high prevalence of poverty among people
who are blind or partially sighted,
• to develop close contacts and co-operation between the WBU and the UN
and its Agencies to make sure that the needs of blind and partially sighted
people are put on their agendas,
• to discuss literacy issues and the training of blind and partially sighted
children and adults with the UNESCO, ILO and the WHO and ensure that children
and adults who are blind or partially sighted are given the right to education,
rehabilitation and employment,
• to strengthen the self-awareness of blind and partially sighted people
and develop our personality, self-respect and sense of responsibility,
• to provide an international forum for the exchange of knowledge and
experience in the field of blindness.
• to take action against the negative attitudes and discrimination shown
to blind women and children worldwide.