Do foreign students with disabilities who are visiting short-term on an exchange program have the possibility to apply for additional support at the host university/country?
Studying in a different country, for a short-term, can be a valuable experience but also a challenging time for young people, as they are facing an unfamiliar environment, a new language and culture. For students with disabilities it can be even more challenging and sometimes difficult to face inaccessible environments or disability-related stereotypes.
Enabling study mobility for students with disabilities and assisting them with support from their host university or country seems to be still very rare – according to the respondents only 11 percent stated that young people with disabilities from other countries can apply for the same support than their peers at the receiving country or university. It is the lack of available funds which prevents this from happening (Zimbabwe) or the fact, that such student exchange practice is not widely spread or heard of (yet) (Azerbaijan, India, Indonesia, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine). Results show that in 59 percent of the countries it is not possible for students with disabilities to apply for funds from the host university or country – the only possibility is to apply for support measures and funding in their home country.
Lovemore Rambiyawo, National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH), Zimbabwe:
“Resource constraints are often cited as the major constraint for lack of this practice.”
“Foreign students with disabilities can generally access the same kinds of disability-related accommodations (such as, a sign interpreter in the classroom) as their U.S. Citizen classmates at the same university.
More information: http://www.miusa.org/resource/tipsheet/offcampus .”
Article 9, 19, 24, 32
Article 9 Accessibility
- To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:
- Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;
- Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.
- States Parties shall also take appropriate measures:
- To develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public;
- To ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities;
- To provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities;
- To provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms;
- To provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public;
- To promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information;
- To promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet;
- To promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.
Article 19 Living independently and being included in the community
States Parties to the present Convention recognize the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community, with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the community, including by ensuring that:
- Persons with disabilities have the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others and are not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement;
- Persons with disabilities have access to a range of in-home, residential and other community support services, including personal assistance necessary to support living and inclusion in the community, and to prevent isolation or segregation from the community;
- Community services and facilities for the general population are available on an equal basis to persons with disabilities and are responsive to their needs.
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.
Article 32 International cooperation
- States Parties recognize the importance of international cooperation and its promotion, in support of national efforts for the realization of the purpose and objectives of the present Convention, and will undertake appropriate and effective measures in this regard, between and among States and, as appropriate, in partnership with relevant international and regional organizations and civil society, in particular organizations of persons with disabilities. Such measures could include, inter alia:
- Ensuring that international cooperation, including international development programmes, is inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities;
- Facilitating and supporting capacity-building, including through the exchange and sharing of information, experiences, training programmes and best practices;
- Facilitating cooperation in research and access to scientific and technical knowledge;
- Providing, as appropriate, technical and economic assistance, including by facilitating access to and sharing of accessible and assistive technologies, and through the transfer of technologies.
- The provisions of this article are without prejudice to the obligations of each State Party to fulfil its obligations under the present Convention.