International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)

&

World Blind Union (WBU)

Joint Education Policy Statement

 

PREAMBLE

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 Development Goals;

Supporting the UNESCO Flagship, “Education for All: The Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities: Towards Inclusion”;

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 persons:

POLICY STATEMENT

ICEVI and WBU:

A. Urge governments to:

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 schools.

5. Give prominence to the voice of parents and (where appropriate) children and youth in decisions about placement.

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 childhood.


B. Teacher Training:

ICEVI and WBU will work together to:

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 Intervention Programs:

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 populations.

F. Toward Action by the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment and the World Blind Union :

Therefore, ICEVI and WBU agree to:

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 adults.
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 and WBU.
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 levels.

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 adults.

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.

Signed by President, ICEVI and President, WBU

APPENDIX 1

INTERNATIONAL 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 Disabilities: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/dissre00.htm
7. 1994 Salamanca Statement on Principles, Policy and Practice in Special Needs Education: http://www.unesco.org/education/pdf/SALAMA_E.PDF
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: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/a_ac265_2003_4e.htm


INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR EDUCATION OF
PEOPLE WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENT (ICEVI)

Mission
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.

ICEVI Regions
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.

Networking with other organizations
ICEVI works closely with International Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDOs) and UN bodies such as UNESCO, UNICEF, and WHO.

Publications
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 (WBU)

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.

Vision
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.