Celebrating disability-inclusive education

The Centre for Disability Studies today held a round table event at the University of Sydney to celebrate advances, and inspire further progress, in tertiary education opportunities for people with intellectual disability.

Uni 2 Beyond


“Despite some tremendous progress, we know that opportunities for participation for people with intellectual disability in higher education are still held back by outdated notions of what people can or can’t achieve,’ said Professor Patricia O’Brien, Director of the Centre for Disability Studies, an affiliate of the University of Sydney.

On Wednesday 27 March, the Centre for Disability Research held a round table event at the University of Sydney on the back of the launch of their world-first book documenting successful disability-inclusive tertiary education initiatives across the globe, lived student experiences and policy recommendations.

Co-Editor Friederike Gadow said Australia is behind many countries when it comes to post-secondary school opportunities for people with intellectual disability.

While many Australian universities are interested in running programs there are a lot of barriers.

Ms Gadow, Co-Leader of Research and Innovation in the Centre for Disability Studies and a PhD student at the University of Sydney.

“There are currently only two such initiatives in Australia whereas in the United States they have several in most states – partly because there is policy to underpin inclusive higher education, resulting in necessary funding.”

One of the initiatives documented in the book is uni 2 beyond, the award-winning program run at the University of Sydney by the Centre for Disability Studies.

Participants in uni 2 beyond are supported to take part in university life as audit (non-enrolled) students and work towards individual learning outcomes, while supported through a mentoring program.

Since its introduction in 2012, the initiative has grown from five to 10 current students, with over 30 alumni who have studied across arts and social sciences, health sciences, business, and with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

“The program has benefited many students, not just those participating in the program, but also the wider university through students and lecturing staff gaining an increased understanding and appreciation of what it means to live with an intellectual disability,” said Professor O’Brien.

“A key challenge moving forward, and one we look forward to discussing at the roundtable, is how to make inclusion the norm in the future through strategies such as changing the way we teach and prepare our future educators.”


Reference: https://sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2019/03/27/celebrating-disability-inclusive-education.html

World in Progress: In Ethiopia, disabled children face barriers to education

World in Progress: In Ethiopia, disabled children face barriers to education

In Ethiopia, just 4 percent of children with disabilities have access to education. Human rights activist Nafisa Baboo is trying to change that.

This report is part of the Light in Darkness project and is funded by the European Journalism Center’s Innovation in Development Reporting grants program.

Reference: https://www.dw.com/en/world-in-progress-in-ethiopia-disabled-children-face-barriers-to-education/av-48081078

Raising the Achievement of All Learners in Inclusive Education – Łajski, Poland

Raising the Achievement of All Learners in Inclusive Education – Łajski, Poland

The Agency’s Raising the Achievement of All Learners in Inclusive Education project (2014–2017) aims to provide evidence of effective practice in raising achievement and building the capacity of schools and communities to include and support all learners. The project involves a range of stakeholders including school leaders, researchers, teachers, parents and learners, as well as local and national policy makers. Three Learning Communities were chosen to take forward the school-based work: in Rome, Italy, in Łajski, Poland and in East Kilbride, UK (Scotland). In 2015, the project team…

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Kenya, Pioneering inclusive education strategies for disabled girls

Kenya, Pioneering inclusive education strategies for disabled girls

  • Location: The Lake Region, Kenya
  • Funded by: UK Government

Although overall enrolments in primary education are increasing in Kenya, the numbers of disabled girls accessing primary education remain low, and the numbers of these girls dropping out of education are increasing. Our project will address physical and social barriers to education to reverse this trend, and ensure that 2,050 disabled girls in 50 primary schools in the Lake Region receive a full, quality and inclusive primary education.

This project is one of 19 Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) ‘Innovation projects’ funded by the UK government….

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India. Facilitating access to education for disabled children at Cheshire Homes Mumbai and Serampore

India. Facilitating access to education for disabled children at Cheshire Homes Mumbai and Serampore

  • Location: Mumbai and Serampore (Kolkata), India
  • Start date: 2008
  • Partners: Mumbai Cheshire Home and Serampore Cheshire Home

This project has established two education resource centres in Mumbai and Serampore for children and young adults with disabilities, their families, and teachers so that they can access educational information, support and resources. Staff at the resource centres provide support, guidance and motivation for parents, disabled children and community members to ensure that children with disabilities are included in mainstream schools and in the wider community…

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Differently Abled Require Early Digital Education

Differently Abled Require Early Digital Education

Today, more than 2.21 percent of India’s population is suffering from disability, as per the country’s latest census. The figure of people suffering from some form disability is likely to be more than five percent as stated by the Planning Commission and the World Bank. On a macro level the number might seem momentous compared to India’s total population, but is alarming to demonstrate that significant percentage of persons with disabilities living in India.

Sensing the disadvantages faced by People with Disabilities, the Government of India and the society at large have recently made noteworthy efforts to bring the ‘Differently Abled’ into the mainstream. The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, has appealed that disabled should be called ‘Divyang’ as a respect to their individuality and potential.

In this context, access to internet and breakthrough technologies have empowered and geared many sections of society towards mainstream. We as a society should also mobilize this digital revolution towards new possibilities for the differently abled. Digital inclusion for Differently Abled persons needs to be taken on a priority basis in India. Some steps have taken in this direction in the past by enabling the use of ICT for a disabled person, providing learning aids for hearing/speech impaired, supporting on readability for visually impaired etc.

Making Ecosystem through Available Assistive Technologies (AATs):

For humans, having sensory disabilities related to vision or hearing impairment is a challenge, especially in a classroom setting where an instructor cannot rely on common classroom tools and study materials. Individuals suffering from cognitive impairment require learning in a different manner. While these challenges are real and cumbersome, digital education and technology can bridge the gap and bring a new experience of immersive training to make their day-to-day education easy. With the help of various assistive technologies, differently abled persons are steadily making their presence felt in the society very strongly. Some of the AATs such as, Text-to-speech Technology, Speech recognition Apps, Visual Aids like onscreen Text-to-Braille converter, Audio Aids, Physical Aids have reduced the challenges of differently abled learners. Due to AATs it has become possible for them to access technology.

People with physical disabilities or long-term illnesses face mobility issues…

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