Do university students with disabilities have access to alternative testing methods?
This question refers only to university students. In the US, for example, some universities offer courses that require students to sit no exams – their performance is measured by way of course work, assignments etc. Please describe what measures, if any, are being taken to provide alternative testing methods to those with disabilities?
Only 14 percent of respondents replied that alternative testing methods exist for students with disabilities at universities. In some countries the student with disabilities receives additional time for completing the exam (Togo, Armenia, Australia) while the use of assistive devices are not so common due to the fact that professors doubt the quality of the test when assistive devices or similar or being used during test (Canada, Namibia). Alternative testing methods are often subject to the type of disability and not available to all persons with any kind of disabilities (Ukraine, India, Pakistan, Greece, Austria) or limited to only some universities in the country (Austria, Romania, Chile, Poland).
32 percent of the respondents said such alternative testing methods do not exist at all in their country.
Olesya Popova, Ukraine: “On the example of blind students we can tell that professors of university give the chance of examination in the convenient way for the student. There are no data on the matter about the country in general.”
Christina Ryan, Australia: “Things have improved considerably, exam support is offered in most universities although students have to apply for it. In some universities students with disabilities are denied extensions or other adjustments to enable them to participate equally. Students undertaking placements can be severely disadvantaged as there is very little adjustment made to what a placement might look like and the expectations on the student to complete it in the same timeframe, and within the same parameters as other students.”
Cynthy Haihambo, Namibia: “Yes they do, but some lecturers still hold the view that alternative testing methods interferes with quality. Two universities have a center/ unit aimed at supporting students with special needs. These centers negotiate and facilitate alternative assessments. Some students also do not disclose their special needs and staff end up not knowing their needs for alternative testing or instruction.”
Article 24: Education
- States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education. With a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning directed to:
- The full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity;
- The development by persons with disabilities of their personality, talents and creativity, as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential;
- Enabling persons with disabilities to participate effectively in a free society.
- In realizing this right, States Parties shall ensure that:
- Persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability;
- Persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality and free primary education and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live;
- Reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements is provided;
- Persons with disabilities receive the support required, within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education;
- Effective individualized support measures are provided in environments that maximize academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion.
- States Parties shall enable persons with disabilities to learn life and social development skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community. To this end, States Parties shall take appropriate measures, including:
- Facilitating the learning of Braille, alternative script, augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication and orientation and mobility skills, and facilitating peer support and mentoring;
- Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the deaf community;
- Ensuring that the education of persons, and in particular children, who are blind, deaf or deafblind, is delivered in the most appropriate languages and modes and means of communication for the individual, and in environments which maximize academic and social development.
- In order to help ensure the realization of this right, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to employ teachers, including teachers with disabilities, who are qualified in sign language and/or Braille, and to train professionals and staff who work at all levels of education. Such training shall incorporate disability awareness and the use of appropriate augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, educational techniques and materials to support persons with disabilities.
- States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities are able to access general tertiary education, vocational training, adult education and lifelong learning without discrimination and on an equal basis with others. To this end, States Parties shall ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities.
Is the official electorate information produced by the Election Management Body accessible to all?
This question ask if the official electorate information, produced by the Election Management Body, regarding information on elections, voter registration, modalities of voting and accessibility of voting procedures, ballots and facilities – is available in various forms (including sign language, accessible to screen-readers, audio, braille, electronic and easy-to-read and understand versions).
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Article 29: Participation in political and public life
“States Parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others, and shall undertake:
a) To ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others, directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, inter alia, by:
- Ensuring that voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use;
- Protecting the right of persons with disabilities to vote by secret ballot in elections and public referendums without intimidation, and to stand for elections, to effectively hold office and perform all public functions at all levels of government, facilitating the use of assistive and new technologies where appropriate;
- Guaranteeing the free expression of the will of persons with disabilities as electors and to this end, where necessary, at their request, allowing assistance in voting by a person of their own choice;
b) To promote actively an environment in which persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in the conduct of public affairs, without discrimination and on an equal basis with others, and encourage their participation in public affairs, including:
- Participation in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country, and in the activities and administration of political parties;
- Forming and joining organizations of persons with disabilities to represent persons with disabilities at international, national, regional and local levels.”
(UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities)