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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Project PIXAN: Increasing access to quality education in public schools in Mexico for children with multiple disabilities

Perkins School for the Blind, International (
Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    Half of all children with multiple disabilities in Mexico are not in school. In partnership with state Secretaries of Education, civil society, educators and parents, Perkins International’s Project PIXAN is increasing access to quality education for 250 children in 3 special public schools. By 2030 we will improve 31 schools, reaching 2,500 children. Enhanced schools become models for their state and region, creating a ripple effect reaching children with multiple disabilities across Mexico. As quality improves, enrollment will increase and children who today are not in school, by 2030 will be learning.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    By 2030, Project PIXAN will improve the quality of public school education for children with disabilities in Mexico, creating models of accessible education that can be replicated across the country. Activities include: 1. Partnering with state- and school-level education authorities: Formal agreements with Secretaries of Education to select and work in schools. Customized teacher training and mentoring and intensive training by experts from Mexico and other countries in Latin America, leading to a diploma in alliance with the Autonomous National University of Mexico. Individualized planning according to strengths and needs of the children. Emerging leaders are identified to participate in the Perkins Educational Leadership Program. 2. Harnessing the power of families. Parent leaders train and coach parents so they become active participants of their child’s education respecting the family’s cultural heritage and customs. Families’ expectations are included in the child’s education plan and they have an active role in the child’s assessments. 3. Monitoring and learning from progress toward enhanced quality education. Annual and ongoing evaluation of the action plan and school programs using Perkins Program Quality Indicators with all stakeholders; follow up and recording of teacher and child outcomes. Meetings between teachers and school administrators reflecting on good practices for learners. Results informing and refining plans for expansion to other schools and states. Resources: Perkins International staff consists of regional director, national representative, researcher and monitoring and evaluation officer. 12 expert consultants support training and coaching. Financial resources come from private donations.


    During the first 2 years, 250 children with disabilities increased learning outcomes in 3 public schools. Program evaluation shows schools improving practices by 27.6% from baseline. Educators are implementing new approaches such as hand-under-hand, sign language, and individualized planning. In the classrooms, we see environmental interventions such as use of anticipatory cues, reorganization of learning space, and adaptive materials. In all, 55 professionals graduated from the diploma program with increased skills and knowledge, and 40 through other customized trainings, reaching a total of 1,194 children. In learners, we observe greater motivation to participate, a longer attention span, and greater joy and expectation. Children demonstrate more autonomy in exploring and getting materials, initiative to modify routines, and increased participation and communication, at school and home. Families receive support to reinforce these approaches at home, 34 receiving leadership training.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    Perkins International’s 25-year presence in Mexico has built a strong foundation to enable Project PIXAN. Agreements with the Secretaries of Education and local collaborations are designed to secure local support for sustainability of results. Enthusiasm and motivation among government, teachers and parents to help children with disabilities reach their full potential to enable all results. Philanthropic sources fund program costs. Constraints include turn-over of school personnel, changes of government officials, COVID-related school closures, and lack of specialized learning materials required by children with disabilities.

    Sustainability and replicability

    Project Pixan is a 10-year strategy to be implemented with 10 Secretaries of Education to enhance public schools becoming models of accessible education for children with disabilities. In each state, up to 4 schools will be established as a mutually supportive ‘critical mass’ of quality to maintain and continue progress, demonstrating what is possible by sharing practices and training. Educators complete 360 hours of training which qualify them to train other professionals beyond the project. This includes capacity for monitoring and evaluation, which enables assessing their own practices in the future. Ongoing Perkins coaching and mentoring sessions help solidify new skills, build confidence, and solve problems, so new competencies are sustained and shared. By convening and supporting parents, they assume a central and active role in the education of their children. Stakeholders participate in Perkins' global network, sharing and learning from experiences in the world.

    COVID-19 Impact

    Schools in Mexico have been closed since March 2020. In response, Project PIXAN developed a mentorship plan with schools to support families and teachers to teach remotely. Challenges included connectivity conditions, knowledge of technology, access to devices, and need for creativity and multiple media to communicate with families. We transformed these challenges into an opportunity to develop creative new educational materials for use at home including infographics, tutorial videos, and leveraging the “Learn at Home” public TV channel to share experiences at national level. When schools reopen, we will go back to a better, integrated approach that supports children to learn both at home and at school, and engages teachers and parents in compassion and collaboration more than ever before.

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    01 December 2018 (start date)
    31 December 2030 (date of completion)
    Perkins School for the Blind, International
    Other beneficiaries

    Children with disabilities, their teachers, families, and relevant local education authorities are both the beneficiaries and stakeholders of Project PIXAN. Partners include National and State Secretaries of Education; National Autonomous University of Mexico; disability civil associations ASOMAS, COAMEX and CEMDYS; National Human Rights Commission, National Institute of Pediatrics; and teacher training schools of Mexico City and Jalisco.

    Contact Information

    Gloria, Director Latin America and the Caribbean, Perkins International