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The third episode of EdTech Mondays, a monthly radio show hosted by the Mastercard Foundation and Shega Media & Technology, is slated to air on Monday, December 5, 2022, on Ethio FM 107.8.

The show will be aired at 8 p.m. and will discuss how edtech can be used to increase access to education for learners with disabilities.

The episode will explore the key challenges learners with disabilities face in education, the exacerbating factors making things worse, how digital learning and technology can help address identified challenges, and what policy steps can be taken.

Children with disabilities are much less likely to start school than their peers without disabilities in Ethiopia. Survey data from the Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys (HCES) indicates that 43 percent of school-age children with disabilities had never attended school, compared with an overall average of 22 percent.

Levels of access to education are higher in Addis Ababa and other urban areas, but the equity gap remains large. According to the Ministry of Education, some 219,000 students with special education needs were attending primary school in 2016/17, which is well below the target of 1.7 million set out in the Master Plan for Special Needs Education.

This exclusion of persons with disabilities from accessing education results from factors such as societal views on disability as a curse, which causes families to refrain from taking children with disabilities to school; perceptions that persons with disabilities are not able to learn and are therefore ignored in class; and a lack of adequate resources and the enabling infrastructure to facilitate the education of learners with disabilities.

The exclusion of persons with disabilities from education has been shown to have negative long-term economic consequences in the form of lost or diminished income. Nevertheless, edtech is proving to be an enabler of access to education for all, including learners with disabilities.

Thus, starting a conversation on how these disparities can be addressed is important. In particular, discussing how edtech can make education in Ethiopia more accessible to learners with disabilities is a crucial step toward raising awareness.

The upcoming show will have Bereket Alemayehu, technical operations assistant manager at Camara Education Ethiopia; Mehret Damte, special needs education and training coordinator at Zemen Medium Clinic; and Akram Solomon, a teacher.   

EdTech Mondays was launched in October 2022 by the Mastercard Foundation in partnership with Shega to create a platform where issues that affect the use of technology in education are discussed.

The radio show brings together key stakeholders such as policymakers, EdTech entrepreneurs, teachers, and parents.

On the continental level, an integrated, Africa-wide conversation of EdTech Monday airs monthly on CNBC Africa and the Mastercard Foundation Young Africa Works Facebook Page.

In alignment with the monthly Africa theme, Mastercard Foundation offices in Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, in partnership with local EdTech support organizations, disseminate the discussions with the local context, experts, nuances, and case studies.

The Mastercard Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the world, with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world.

The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management.

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