Understanding the Impact and Effectiveness of Holistic Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities: The Case of Bangladesh

In collaboration with Cambridge University researchers, BIGD is conducting a study that seeks to explore what (and how) school and community-based factors support or hinder access, retention, and learning of children with moderate/severe disabilities in mainstream schools. This project is funded by UK aid from the UK government through the PENDA programme at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

Researchers: Narayan C. Das; Nidhi Singal; Ricardo Sabates Aysa; Khandker Wahedur Rahman; Laraib Niaz; Md. Kamruzzaman; Maliha Noshin Khan; and Nabila Tahsin

Partners: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM); Sightsavers; ADD International; Sense International

Timeline: 2021­­­–2025

Status: Ongoing

Contact: Nabila Tahsin;


Compared to persons without disabilities, those with disabilities are more than twice less likely to complete both primary and secondary and almost three times less likely to complete tertiary education, according to the 2011 census of Bangladesh. This project aims to improve access to quality education for 5 to 12-year-old children with disabilities in two districts of Bangladesh, namely Narsingdi and Sirajganj. While the project specifically targets children who either dropped out or have never been to school, it will also benefit other children as the overall teaching environment will become more inclusive.

At the intervention schools, a set of standard activities such as training and sensitizing the teacher and school management committees will take place along with need-based adaptive measures, e.g., infrastructural adaptations. Individual children will benefit from screening, referrals, and connections to relevant existing schemes for children with disabilities. There will also be a provision for home-based education support for children before they can go to school by linking this support to schools. Communities of targeted children, including their families and peers, will also be engaged through awareness raising/sensitization activities with the aim to change the perception and attitudes towards disability, tackling stigma and discrimination experienced by children with disabilities.

BIGD and Cambridge University researchers are conducting a study to assess the impact of the initiative and explore the factors that facilitate or hinder the education of children with disabilities.


The objective of the impact evaluation is to measure the three key expected outcomes of the intervention, in addition to various other outcomes, which are:

  1. Children with disabilities are enrolled, retained, and demonstrate progress in learning and have increased self-confidence to participate in their learning environment;
  2. The community and school learning environments and systems in the target areas have increased awareness, knowledge, and skills to support the rights of children with disabilities to access education and meet their learning needs; and
  3. Families, communities, and civil societies have the knowledge and skills to advocate for inclusive education policy changes at school and national levels.

This study is relevant to SDG 4 (Quality Education), particularly to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.


To evaluate the impact of the intervention, the research employs a comprehensive mixed-method approach, which integrates a randomized controlled trial (RCT) alongside qualitative case studies. The baseline phase for both the quantitative and qualitative studies has been successfully completed. The endline survey is scheduled for 2025, following the completion of the intervention.

Findings and Recommendations