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Thanks for the thoughtful response, Elizabeth. Obviously I concur on both of these things, and especially data and the importance of disaggregating outcome indicators by disability status. Disaggregation, though, gets all the press, but all that allows us to do is measure exclusion, it doesn’t tell us what are the key barriers and facilitators that influence exclusion. So it doesn’t suggest what policy levers could be most effective. Therefore, I was glad you mentioned learning about barriers, but I would make that its own bullet point.

 

I also think what is needed is a holistic, cross-sectoral approach. People don’t live their lives in silos. Inclusive education is important, but it becomes much more valuable if those graduating from schools are moving into inclusive labor markets. So our data might tell us there is currently an X% economic return to inclusive education, but that is in today’s labor market. If we break down barriers to employment, we get an even bigger return to making education inclusive.

I see this with budgeting, too. If ministry A spends money on something, it might save money for ministry B — which ministry A will not care that much about. Or there can be turf wars — like social welfare vs. health ministries when it comes to disability assessments.  So we need to take an overall strategic approach. That is why I think national inclusion strategies are important — but there must be clear lines of authority — including budget authority — and ways to enforce compliance to the strategy.