Why ICF Education?

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (“ICF”) has been in circulation since 2001. Since its publication, members of the Functioning and Disability Reference Group (FDRG) have used this classification as the basis for teaching users (and potential users) the clinical, social, academic, research, health service administration and statistical uses of the classification. For this, they have developed a selection of materials and methods.

For the classification to be most effective, it is important that it is applied consistently and reliably. This requires teaching using quality teaching and learning materials. However, to avoid duplication of effort FDRG members and collaborators have agreed to share their resources through ICF Education, a central repository for the ICF learning materials, thus helping others in teaching the practical application of the ICF.

Having a central repository of knowledge allows collected materials to be evaluated and discussed and a rating scale applied by those using them. This facilitates the continuous improvement of the materials to ensure the best application of the ICF on an ongoing basis.

Finally, a central repository of quality educational material, peer reviewed and quality tested in the field, will form an excellent basis for developing learning resources around specific topics related to the ICF.

Why did we create this Portal?

There is an unmet demand for ICF education worldwide. This is of particular concern because the ICF is recognised to be an important infrastructure for

(a) planning and evaluating services relevant to people with diverse challenges to functioning in their everyday lives, and

(b) for gathering well-structured data on functioning and disability.

ICF is a technical resource consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Overcoming global inequalities in health and disability requires equitable access to ICF education, not solely reliant on face-to-face methods.

An educated workforce for improving information on functioning

Current global health and related information priorities agreed by the World Health Assembly include:

As WHO member states put in place policies and strategies to meet the targets and indicators included in these action plans there will be a need information on human functioning for monitoring outcomes and the ICF is recommended as the global standard for information on functioning, disability and health.

A workforce with sufficient knowledge and skills to introduce ICF into data collections will be required. The resources in this portal may be used to educate this workforce.

Not for profit

This portal has been developed as an international public good. The focus is on open access and free resources. Generally providers of education materials are supplying their work free of charge under a Creative Commons License. Materials provided are not to be used for profit. Materials that have been modified or updated need to be uploaded to the portal again for the benefit of future users. See the terms and conditions.


Although this portal is run on non-profit lines, some providers hold the copyright of their resources and request a fee for its use. This will be indicated in the description of the resource. The responsibility for the transaction is entirely between the provider and the user of the resource.

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This site is funded by individuals and WHO-FIC Collaborating Centres with a passion for making top quality ICF resources globally available. Kindly support our cause. If you want to support this site, please contact us.

This ICF education initiative is under the auspices of the WHO-FIC Collaborating Centre for the Africa Region, based at the Burden of Disease Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa
Nelson Mandela University
Developed and hosted by the Centre for Community Technologies, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa