Equality of What? The Capability Approach and the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Equality of What? The Capability Approach and the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities


  • Andrea Broderick Department of International and European Law, Maastricht University, The Netherlands


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Abstract:  The right to education is indispensable in unlocking other substantive human rights and in ensuring full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in mainstream society. The cornerstone of Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities seeks to ensure access to inclusive education for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others as well as the full development of human potential. Since the adoption of the Convention, there has been much theorising about inclusive education; however, there has been little focus on the meaning of equality in the context of the right to education for persons with disabilities. The capability approach, developed by Amartya Sen and further refined by Martha Nussbaum, focuses on ensuring equality and developing human potential. It is often viewed as a tool that can be used to overcome the limitations of traditional equality assessments in the educational sphere, which only measure resources and outcomes. This article explores whether the capability approach can offer new insights into the vision of educational equality contained in the Convention and how that vision can be implemented at the national level.

Keywords:  capability approach; CRPD; disability; education; equality; inclusive education; United Nations

Published:   26 March 2018


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v6i1.1193


© Andrea Broderick. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.