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Access to Higher Education for all Students A Duty or a Luxury?


Access to Higher Education for all Students A Duty or a Luxury? Why this title? Myriam Van Acker (1996): accessibility for people with disabilities to Higher ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Access to Higher Education for all Students A Duty or a Luxury?

Access to Higher Education for all
Students A Duty or a Luxury?
Why this title?
  • Myriam Van Acker (1996)
  • accessibility for people with disabilities to
    Higher Education is not a luxury but a duty for
    society that offers everyone equal rights.
  • How are we doing?

Agency Member Countries
Shared Aims
  • The aim of this conference, the Transnational
    project and the Examples of Practice document is
    an aim shared by the Agency - sharing of
    information on policy and practice
    internationally to support learning and
    development for all involved

Agency Work
Provision in Post-Primary Education
Two parameters of Access
  • Access to HE - opportunities to gain initial
    entry into an HEI
  • Access within HE - support for full participation
    in all aspects of studying within HE

HE institutional level support
  • Statements or action plans for students with SEN
  • Support service, office, team or person
  • Different types of support offered
  • Academic support
  • Specialist study support materials
  • Accommodation/housing
  • Health services
  • Financial advice
  • Counselling

Students Responsibility
  • Students with SEN being given
  • Possibilities for taking and developing
    responsibility for their learning decision-making
    and situations
  • The responsibility for decision-making regarding
    their long-term future

Teachers Responsibility
  • A developing focus of HE support services away
    from students, towards supporting mainstream
    teachers to support all learners in their classes
  • Initiatives to encourage all teaching staff to
    become more responsible and able to respond to
    the needs of students with SEN
  • These points apply to administrators and HE
    managers as well as teachers

National level support services
  • Umbrella support services or organisations
    providing support and advice for students with
  • National organisations or NGOs that offer support
    and advice to students with SEN
  • Support services involving networks of HEIs

National level tasks
  • General awareness raising regarding the rights
    and entitlements
  • Co-ordination of different sources of information
  • Networking of disability support staff working at
    an institutional level
  • Provision of a forum for different interest
    groups and stakeholders to meet and exchange

The Future of Support Services
  • Short term aim - integrated services
  • Mid term aim - transfer of responsibility to
  • Long term aim - redundancy

Entitlements to access and support within HE
  • What are the trends and developments in
    legislation in different European countries?
  • Are there aspects of good practice policy that
    are highlighted in the Transnational Projects
    guide and proposals?

General Disability Legislation
  • National level legislation covering all aspects
    of public services
  • Guarantees rights of access to services
  • International legislation such as the UN
    regulations on Equalisation of Opportunity for
    People with Disabilities may be applicable
  • Denmark, Germany, Iceland as examples
  • Issue countries may have more than one act or
    regulation covering equality of opportunity

General Disability Legislation with Specific
Elements that Refer to HE
  • Three elements mainly evident
  • definition of disability
  • outline of general duties of organisations to
    promote equality
  • specific duties for HEIs
  • France, Italy, UK as examples

Specific Legislation Relating to HE
  • Different forms
  • Dictation that HEIs enrol a certain percentage of
    students with SEN each year (Greece, Portugal,
  • Specific budget reservations for SEN support
  • Possibility for additional grants and financial
    support (Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Poland,
  • specific entitlements to support for example
    exemptions/alternative arrangements in
    examinations (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Flanders,
    Hungary and Italy)

A Range of General and Specific Laws
  • In effect, most countries
  • Focus on equal rights for all students and to
    combat discrimination based on gender, ethnical
    group, religion, sexual orientation or disability
  • Core principles of accessibility for all and
    universal design design are developing features
    (for example in Norway)

  • Ongoing developments in general disability
    related as well as HE specific legislation
  • Changes in some countries legislation has dual,
    inter-connected aims
  • improving individual rights and entitlements
  • balancing this with the responsibilities of HEIs

Cause and Effects?
  • Impetus for change
  • changes in societal views of disability
  • raising of expectations for different progression
    pathways for students who have experienced
    inclusive provision in compulsory education
  • European legislation
  • Litigation
  • Positive developments in making learning
    environments more easily accessible in all
    respects (Hurst 2006)

A Quote from the Partnership Guide
  • In all countries, we are still a long way from
    finding a university which can claim quite
    justifiably to be a genuinely inclusive place
    which meets the diverse range of students needs
    in all of its routine policies, procedures and
    practices including international exchanges and
    work placements/study overseas
  • It can be argued the same is true at policy level
    - no country has got it right

Barriers to and within HE
  • Physical barriers
  • Access to information
  • Access to support
  • Attitudes
  • Entitlements

Allan Vibur, Estonia
  • European Parliament Hearing
  • I had the luck to grow up together with great
    changes in my country
  • step by step
  • No one wonders when they are studying in the
    mainstream schools and the universities
  • The attitude has changed. Young Estonians with
    special needs do their best to get a good
    education and a real good job in the future

Value Added Provision
  • What is good for students with special
    educational needs (SEN) is good for all students
  • Aspects of successful inclusive practice in
    compulsory education that need to be examined,
    considered and studied within the HE sector
  • Co-operative teaching and learning
  • Heterogeneous grouping
  • Alternative ways of learning

Possible ways ahead
  • More information on best practice in policy and
    provision for supporting students with SEN is
    required at International and National levels
  • There is not only a need to share this
    information, but also work towards guidelines
    that make certain minimum levels of provision an

Inclusive Policies
  • All policies consider and account for the needs
    of all learners from the beginning
  • Policies should be
  • trans-sectoral
  • underpinned by a philosophy of meeting all needs
  • have long-term vision, but reflect local level
  • Phases of policy development
  • short term recognisable (separate) specific
    action plan/strategy
  • medium term part of general strategy plans
  • long term not mentioned, accepted as a given

Inclusive HE as a natural progression
  • Students with SEN can only reach their full
    educational potential if there are real
    opportunities for building on their achievements
    from compulsory education in inclusive settings
    in HE
  • As Myriam pointed out, this should be a duty,
    not a luxury

More Information
  • Amanda Watkins
  • European Agency for Development in Special Needs