Counting every child in: promoting inclusive and quality education for disabled children in China

Project: Projects from Previous Employment

Project Details


The struggle for disabled children to access inclusive, equitable and quality education is a globally shared challenge. In particular, low and middle-income countries tend to face further economic, social, political and cultural barriers.

In China, while nearly half of the designated disabled children are still placed in segregated special schools, progress has been made to enrol disabled children into mainstream schools. However, the ethnographic study ‘Imagining Inclusive Schooling’ found that the ‘included’ children were experiencing forms of marginalisation and exclusion. Much needs to be done to realise children’s aspirations of change, to enhance learning outcomes, opportunities to participation, wellbeing and dignity for everyone.

Directly responding to the call of UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, the project ‘Counting Every Child In’ (CECI) is based on ‘Imagining Inclusive Schooling’, to promote inclusive and quality education for disabled children in China, contributing to the country’s engagement with sustainable development. It was funded by the UK ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship (£123,345), involving partners from but not restricted to the University of Edinburgh, Beijing Normal University and Dublin Trinity College.

The CECI project includes a wide range of engagement and impact activities, designed to influence current policy, practice and understandings of inclusive education in China by disseminating 4 key messages:

- Children’s voices much be heard and acted upon as a sustainable and local strategy to inform the development of responsive, enabling and inclusive practice.

- Much more clarity is needed for the conceptualisation of inclusive education. Inclusive education is about every child’s learning, participation and wellbeing.

- To ensure quality education, it urgently needs teacher education programmes to provide support for teachers’ development of inclusive pedagogy in mainstream classrooms.

- It requires stakeholders at all levels to work together to overcome deep-rooted barriers, explore local approach, and systematically transform educational provision.​
Effective start/end date1/01/1731/12/17


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