QUESTION
OF THE
MONTH

Each month CIP invites an expert to pose an important question dealing with some aspect of inclusive policies.


We then invite all of you to participate in an on-line written discussion. At the end of the month, our expert will summarize the main results of that discussion in a blog. If you would like to pose a “question of the month” please write to us on our contact page.

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION

What are the challenges to providing quality higher education for persons with disabilities in low and middle income countries and what would be the effective approaches to eliminate barriers to reduce dropout and improve quality higher education?

THIS MONTH’S CURATOR

Dr. Kamal Lamichhane

 

  • This topic has 6 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 1 day, 16 hours ago by pruthviraj Parade.
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    • #9497 Reply
      kamallamichhane
      • Participant

      Although education is a first step to bring about change and thus considered an effective strategy to reduce poverty and inequality, increase economic empowerment, and achieve social inclusion, people with disabilities particularly in low and middle income countries are not able to achieve quality higher education to take benefits arising from it. The importance of providing quality education to all children regardless of any individual differences and disadvantages is recognized in several international declarations including Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2000–2015. Likewise, Goal 4 in general and 4.5 in particular of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have clearly incorporated the education of those with disabilities (UN, 2015). Marking the 2015 as the end of both MDGs and Education for All (EFA), the majority of countries were assessed as having reached or close to the goal of increasing access to “education for all” for primary level, individuals with disabilities graduating at least 12 years of schooling are still few. While quality higher education for people with disabilities must be an important component of inclusive development, their lower access and achievements in education particularly in developing world could indicate the likelihood of placing less emphasis by the Governments and other relevant authorities on their higher education. Despite the international initiatives and commitments, education of people with disabilities might be compromised with number of reasons including the households’ financial constraints. In this Monthly CIP discussion forum, we want to emphasize on disability and higher education focusing on challenges and then approaches to provide quality education. Let’s have a lively discussion on this important issue.

    • #9520 Reply
      Aseri Tabuawaiwai
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      I believe that as a HEI, they are to provide reasonable accomodation to ease access to sevices and support provided for PWD. In on of the instituion in Fiji, they offer financial support for PWD to study but cannot support for their carer, however they opted for a buddy privided by the university to help that student in their study. For a PWD, their carer is picked by the person and not by anyone and their relationship has been built over time. I would suggest that PWD be called to participate at the discussion table for any issues concerning them and to be part of the working group or task force and not to be called onky to validate. I strongly believe in “nothing about us, without us”.

      • #9528 Reply
        kamallamichhane
        • Participant
        Up
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        Individuals with disabilities should be provided reasonable
        accommodations to continue higher education. It is nice to hear that
        Fiji has taken some steps towards this direction. What do you think of
        the role of the organizations of persons with disabilities? While
        looking at the situation, sometimes I feel that GOs, I/NGOs have put
        less emphasis on higher education and therefore many individuals with
        significant disabilities are not able to continue receiving quality
        higher education. Equally important issue therefore would be how
        stakeholders that includes DPOs can work together to remove not only
        financial but infrastructure related barriers.

    • #9525 Reply
      Samaneh Shabani
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      Given the availability of quality lower education for persons with disabilities in low and middle income countries, PWDs might get the opportunity to continue their studying in higher / university level. The fact is that in general, universities benefit from more independency in governing their own affairs. They follow sort of self-set internal policies. Positively, it puts into action both micro and macro dimensions of equal education. Promoting “community support services” can be considered as a micro dimensional approach on enhancing quality higher education for PWDs. Alongside with promoting macro-level policies which covers the whole country, implementing community support services in universities will add functional aspects to the strategies. This year, as one of the CIP fellows, I have the opportunity to work on a similar project.

    • #9526 Reply
      Irene Among
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      <p style=”text-align: left;”>Support is required at pre-entry, in-course and at pre-exit phase. At pre-entry,  affirmative action for students with disabilities to get admitted into tertiary institutions is vital. In Uganda for example, students with disability have 1.5 extra points awarded to them to meet the entry requirements. Within-course, there is need to ensure access to the built environment. Ramps, hand rails, wide doors are some requirements to improve physical access. Escalators need to be functional at all times. I witnessed a student in a wheel chair being carried up a staircase by fellow students and this is not appropriate for the dignity of students with disabilities, neither is it an efficient use of the time of students with disabilities and their care givers. Within institutions, accomodations should also be made to ensure that laptops have accessible soft ware for students with visual impairment, library materials should be designed in an accessible manner e.g. with audio files, braille and other learning materials should be accessible at no extra cost to students with disabilities. Exams should be adapted to the needs of students with disabilities. Where possible, cash grants should also be made available to ensure that they meet their extra care needs while in the institions  In addition, lecturers should be provided some training on accessible/inclusive teaching methods at the tertiary level. Pre-exit, all students with disabilities, should be given customised practical training on how to join the labour market, their rights as employees with disabilities and how to demand for reasonable accommodation.</p>

      • #9529 Reply
        kamallamichhane
        • Participant
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        The approaches you explained are indeed important and effective to
        increase the access to higher education of individuals with
        disabilities. As Uganda is one of the first SSA countries to implement
        Universal Primary Education Policy in 1990s, they may have some
        effective approaches being implemented for higher education too. At
        the same time, with UPE Policy, Uganda was successful to reduce gender
        gap in education but not necessarily the disability gaps. So, it could
        be interesting to see how Governments allocate funding for disabled
        people’s education that covers the cost for educational materials in
        accessible format, support staffs, sign language facilities and more.
        As to Uganda, do you see any impact of providing students with
        disability 1.5 extra points awarded to meet the entry requirements?
        How other groups have reacted on this provision and can it be
        considered fair? At the end, quality should not be compromised and
        access should not be denied.

    • #9531 Reply
      pruthviraj Parade
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      Persons with a disability are highly vulnerable to discrimination / unequal opportunities. small and middle-income group countries only focus on the right to education but do not think about an inclusive and socially self-sustaining ecosystem for PwD. in Higher education students must feel safe physically and emotionally in the classroom. Teachers should know the requirement of every PwD student, also assessments of PwD students should be done separately as compared to the normal student.

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