Differently-Abled, Differently Empowered

UNICEF supports Aziz Abaza inclusive school for a better educational experience with the differently-abled children

Dalia Younis
UNICEF supports Aziz Abaza inclusive school  for a better educational experience with the differently-abled children
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Dalia Younis
03 December 2019

Around 5% of children aged 5-17 suffer from different types of disability in their day-to-day life (from slight to absolute degree of difficulty)[1]. Research on the inclusion of differently-abled children in public schools indicate that included students develop stronger skills in reading and mathematics, have higher attendance rates, less behavioral problems, and are more likely to complete secondary school than students who have not been included.

As adults, included children are more like­ly to be enrolled in post-secondary education and to be employed[2].

In 2008, the Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MoETE) issued a decree for integration of children with mild disabilities in the mainstream schools. In 2009, UNICEF and the MoETE have jointly developed a model for inclusive education that addresses the individual needs of the differently-abled as an in­itiative to improve access to quality inclusive education for children with mild disabilities in the public primary schools. One of the schools at which this model was applied is Aziz Abaza Primary School in Alexandria.

The children featured in this photo essay are among 5000 differently-abled children who are enrolled in 290 inclusive schools in seven governorates across the country. They all benefit from the interventions of the UNICEF-supported and European Union-funded project “Expanding Access to Education and Protection of at-Risk Children in Egypt”.


[1] CAPMAS and UNICEF. “Children in Egypt Aged 0-17 years, Census 2017”, 2017.
[2]  Hehir et al, “A summary of Research Evidence on Inclusive Education”, alana, abt associates, August 2016.

UNICEF supports Aziz Abaza inclusive school  for a better educational experience with the differently-abled children
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Rehab El Dalil
Nouran, who has Down Syndrome, is all dressed up as a pharaoh for a school activity show. In an inclusive school, there is an emphasis on the full participation of children with different disabilities in all activities along with other students. Children with mild disabilities are educated in the regular classes, then attend smaller, more inten¬sive remedial sessions to receive specific educational support services according to their individual learning needs.
UNICEF supports Aziz Abaza inclusive school  for a better educational experience with the differently-abled children
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Rehab El Dalil
Mahmoud, who has autism, is holding the letter he was asked to find proudly at the resource room. At this child-friendly room, differently-abled children are supported through one-on-one or small group sessions tailored through their individual learning needs. By 2019, UNICEF identified and equipped 290 resource rooms across the country with adequate educational material, IT equipment, furniture and stationary.
UNICEF supports Aziz Abaza inclusive school  for a better educational experience with the differently-abled children
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Dalia Younis
Mariam (who’s hearing impaired) is repeating after Mary, social sciences teacher on the right, as she articulates her words for her to follow in the regular classroom. 4576 teachers, social workers, psychologists, school management, and administrators received capacity building training by UNICEF and partners on inclusive education and how to accommodate the learning needs of all children according to their individual potentials.
UNICEF supports Aziz Abaza inclusive school  for a better educational experience with the differently-abled children
UNICEF/Egypt 2019/Rehab El Dalil
Nour, who has learning difficulties, was recently referred to this school by a school for children with major disabilities believing she can better fulfill her potential at in inclusive school. Across 7 governorates, 2,495 teachers were trained on the features of different types of disabilities that are eligible for inclusive education according to the Egyptian law. 1,063 psychologists, social workers, teachers, and principals were trained on early identification of disabilities. With the continuous funding of the EU, UNICEF and MoETE are planning to expand the model nationwide so that more differently-abled children could fulfill their potential with the right and timely intervention.