Argentina: ERI Joint Submission to CRPD

Committee on the Rights of the People with Disabilities

18th Session

Joint Submission from: Edmund Rice International & Educación Inclusiva on República Argentina

Coalition of organizations

Edmund Rice International (ERI) is an international non-governmental organization, founded in 2005 and with Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC since 2012. ERI is supported by two Catholic Religious Congregations, the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers. It works with networks of like-minded organizations and in the countries where the two congregations are present. ERI has a special interest in the rights of the child, the right to education and in eco-justice.

EDUCACION INCLUSIVA ONG is a Simple Civil Association founded by María José Adrogué and created by professionals and relatives of children with some disability in order to promote their full educational and social inclusion, as well as labor and social inclusion of adults with disabilities. This NGO works to raise awareness about the situation of people with disabilities, respect for their rights and the construction of a positive view towards disability that puts an end to their segregation. It is part of the national network Grupo Art. 24 por la Educación Inclusiva, which purpose is to influence on the design and implementation of inclusive public policies, in full accordance to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


This report is the result of the survey carried out by our coalition on the compliance of art. 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a treaty that was signed and ratified by the Argentine State through Law 26,378 on 2008.

Our goal is to provide a more comprehensive look at inclusive education in our country. From the last census carried out in 2010 in Argentina, there are some data that can serve to contextualize the situation of people with disabilities in Argentina.

Over a total population of 40,117,096 inhabitants there are approximately 13,764,384 people between 0 and 19 years old. Within this age group 908,399 people live in our country with some permanent difficulty or limitation.

– 325,333 people with permanent visual impairment or limitation

– 92,744 people with difficulty or permanent hearing impairment

– 251,529 people with permanent motor impairment or limitation

– 238,593 people with permanent impairment or cognitive limitation

In this report we will focus on people under the age of 19 who have some permanent difficulty or limitation of a cognitive nature.

The art. 24 of the Convention recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to education and indicates that “States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels”.


The coalition Edmund Rice International – Educación Inclusiva ONG has carried out this report through the implementation of a methodological instrument with the purpose of collecting information with the highest degree of truthfulness possible.

More than 30 surveys and interviews were made to people directly affected by the failure of the State in addressing the right to inclusive education, as well as records from experts in the field to complement what was provided by those affected.

On the other hand, we endorse our report with opinions of the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI) about the different difficulties that occur when enrolling children with disabilities in schools in our country.


By signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008 – law 26.378 -, the Argentine State adopts a series of commitments that include, as already said, the provision of an inclusive educational service.

The Convention stipulates the provision of an inclusive educational system at all levels. Persons with disabilities will not be excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability and the states will have to make the necessary adaptation to accompany the needs of those persons.

In addition, the constitutional hierarchy of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the arts. 14, 16 and 72 inc. 23 of our own National Constitution compel the state to provide its population with an inclusive educational system.

But, in fact, do children with disabilities in Argentina access an inclusive educational system?

To answer this question, we believe it is fundamental to emphasize that the main issue is that not all provincial constitutions have recognized and/or established educational inclusion in their own organization. As Argentina has a federal organization, each provincial jurisdiction must deal with the regulation, provision and regulation of the local educational service.

The current law throughout the country in education (National Education Law, No. 26.206) is prior to the signing of the convention. This national law structures the education system on a non-inclusive integrating model, and imposes the special education modality as specific and more appropriate for students with disabilities. In turn, this special education service is carried out mainly in its own establishments: segregated schools whose only population is children or young people with disabilities. It is necessary to adapt this law to the contents of the Convention.

It should be recognized, beyond what was stated in the previous paragraph, that the Federal Council of Education approved in December 2016 resolution 311/2016, seeking to combine criteria in the provision and regulation of an inclusive educational system. But this rule, federal and therefore applicable throughout the national territory, is left to the local regulation and interpretation of each province, which could seriously undermine the progress that its creation has meant in terms of educational inclusion.

By briefly reviewing this normative exposition and after checking with actors involved in the adaptation – or lack of – of an inclusive educational system, we intend to emphasize that one of the main deficiencies that people with disabilities suffer from state´s failure is the lack of freedom to choose the mainstream school system, as a consequence of the absence of inclusive vacancies in the mainstream system. Students with disabilities are often automatically referred to segregated special schools, even without parental consent. This occurs not only at the beginning of school life (at the initial level, at 3 or 4 years of age), but also later, when the child progresses in school, mainly when the initial cycle ends or when they pass from elementary to high school.

After having conducted more than 30 interviews with relatives of people with disabilities and educational professionals, we have been able to identify numerous situations where the main problem faced by people with disabilities is the lack of vacancies for their entry into mainstream schools, which violates their right to receive an inclusive education service tailored to their needs.

Thus, we find in the experience of these people one of the normative discrepancies that were mentioned in previous paragraphs: the current national education law is not adapted to the Convention and does not impose – with sufficient clarity – the provision of vacancies for the admission of children with disabilities in mainstream schools. This situation is much more frequent in the case of private schools than in those of state management. All of them, private and public, are part of the national educational service regulated and controlled by the State.

We can not ignore the fact that in Argentina public schools service is deficient: lack of personnel, lack of training, lack of infrastructure, lack of budget, fewer days of class due to trade union conflicts, etc. This causes privately run schools to receive many students for the sole reason that there are more days of class there because they are not involved in teacher unions.

Beyond what was mentioned in the previous paragraph, we will not devote this section to analyse state education as a whole, but we will focus specifically on how it´s current situation does not allow the adequate inclusion of people with disabilities.

Argentina has the obligation to guarantee and regulate access to a common education to all persons requesting it, and it should be borne in mind that initial, primary and secondary education is compulsory. In spite of this, the state-run educational system is not sufficiently prepared to provide an effective service to people with disabilities.

According to the testimonies collected, all the weaknesses of public education get worse in the case of a person with a disability, which is why they are forced to go out and find a place in a private school to get a proper education.

Some of the people we interviewed had to visit twenty, thirty or forty private schools to get their children accepted but this does not imply that the educational quality received by the children is adequate to their needs, but at least they ensure a stable place where they feel that they are more protected.

However, those interviewed by this coalition have stated that they suffer various forms of abuse of power and pressure from the authorities of private schools where their children or relatives attend. Respondents relate situations in which they were forced to sign documents allowing privately run schools not to renew their children’s enrollment for various reasons that conceal both discrimination and breach of the law, all of this occurs within the framework of defenselessness and ignorance of the rights of children with disabilities.

The fact is that reality indicates, according to what was mentioned above, that privately run schools that “accept” a person with disabilities in their classrooms seem to gain a future problem: a problem generated by the lack of training of school personnel – which is often not ready to meet the needs of people with disabilities – and a problem generated by the absence of the state, which is almost completely disconnected from its responsibility to provide an inclusive educational service. This is the result of not intensifying the use of its resources in the formation of a national structure that allows the correct development of an inclusive educational system available to all. The state maintains the special education modality by segregated schools and proposes it as the most appropriate modality for students with disabilities.


  • Effectively adopt the application of article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities so that the special education modality is provided within mainstream schools and not in segregated schools.
  • Create a common regulation for decree 311/2016 of the Federal Council of Education that allows the access of persons with disabilities to the school that they freely choose, without interference of the modality
  • Reformulate the initial teachers training plan at a national level, to ensure that teachers training is sufficient for the approach, teaching and learning of students with disabilities.

State Actions

It emerges from the various interviews conducted by this coalition that there are multiple imperfections attributable to the state in ensuring access to inclusive education.

It is highlighted that because of the plurality of regimes caused by provincial competencies in education, there is confusion in our country about the rights of people with disabilities in education. That is why we believe that serious and coordinated work is needed among the various actors in society to further disseminate the rights of children and adolescents with disabilities.

It is well known that the greater the diffusion of the rights, the greater the access to them, so we believe that it is of vital importance that publicity be given to the decisions taken by the State agencies in matters of disabilities. This point is crucial and arises from the victims’ own experiences. From the organizations that work on this theme, the progress made in the last decades in matters of inclusion by the State is valued, but it is also understood that much of this progress was due to the impulse of the parents or the organizations themselves.

It is well known that the greater the diffusion of the rights, the greater the access to them, so we believe that it is of vital importance that publicity be given to the decisions taken by the State agencies in matters of disabilities. This point is crucial and arises from the victims’ own experiences. From the organizations that work on this theme, the progress made in the last decades in matters of inclusion by the State is valued, but it is also understood that much of this progress was due to the impulse of the parents or the organizations themselves.

On the other hand, the State is demanded the lack of participation of the organizations when making decisions and legislating on the matter. A clear example of this is the aforementioned Resolution 311/2016 of the Federal Council of Education and its “Application Guide” (Resolution 2509/2017) presented on May 31 of this year by the Ministry of Education of Argentina. They were not given adequate intervention or participation to the organizations of the civil society or the national network that nucleates them and at present, each jurisdiction is in the process to regulate the Resolution, process in which organizations were not called.

Regarding the so-called Application Guide, we can affirm that although the principle of inclusion is recognized there, it´s just a dogmatic affirmation, since it maintains that inclusion is “to the General Education System”, which in national law postulates the special education in a segregated mode as a specific service for students with disabilities.

Thus, this new regulation reflects a medical approach and stands up against the differentiation between exclusion, segregation, integration and inclusion presented in General Comment No. 4 of the DPCD Committee (CRPD/C/GC/4). The guide recently approved by the Ministry of Education of the Argentina offers deregulated interference of the special education modality and puts in charge of teachers accompanying children with disabilities the configurations of such support, in total contradiction with point II.12. D of Observation No. 4, which requires all teachers to train and acquire competences for inclusive learning.

It can be considered discriminatory to interpret as inclusive education to that which is provided just in segregated institutions whose only population is made up of students with disabilities in addition to being in open contradiction with the UN High Commissioner’s Report (A / HRC / 25/29, 2013), and General Comment No. 4 of the DPCD Committee, 2016 (CRPD / C / GC / 4), which states that the education of students in environments designed especially for children with disabilities and with the removal of students without disabilities constitutes segregation and, therefore, opposed to a inclusive approach.

As an aggravating factor in this matter, consultations were made to several students on their way of becoming teachers on whether the interpretation of Article 24 of the Convention was in their curricula and in all cases the answer was negative. Initial teacher training is structured between common and special education, with no training of teachers on the approach of children with disabilities, universal design of learning, neurodiversity, and other aspects relevant to the development and implementation of inclusive education.


  • Give greater dissemination to national and international regulations aimed at guaranteeing the rights of persons with disabilities, especially those related to inclusive education.
  • Call on specialized organizations to work with the state on the implementation of resolution 311/2016 of the Federal Council of Education.
  • Ensure the teaching of inclusive education ingrained in the art. 24 of the Convention.

Buenos Aires, 19th of July 2017