How to teach students with and without disabilities equally
- Technological University of Santa Catarina
- Country of Implementation
- North America
- First published
“Universidad Tecnológica Santa Catarina fulfils in a comprehensive manner article 24 of the UN CRPD” Mr. Felipe Ramos, The Trust for the Americas, Organization of American States
Disabled people often live in vulnerable situations, and one reason for this is their low level of academic achievement due to barriers that prevent or impede their participation in the education process and the workforce. Furthermore, the lack of public policies that strengthen optimal educational conditions for the inclusion of people with disabilities at all levels of education is a major issue that needs to be addressed.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The programme supports students with disabilities with technological tools, academic and logistical support, and educational programmes to enable them to enter the labour market. Those in need also receive economic support, free transportation, psychological and pedagogic advice, diagnostic and psychological orientation, and a linking with job markets. Going forward, “facilitators” – that is, graduates without disabilities from the previous semester – will brought in to support the current students with disabilities in various academic activities.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
A significant increase in student enrolment with disabilities – as high as 40% – is forecasted. To address the increasing demands of people with disabilities who claim their right to education at all levels, public awareness campaigns and specialized educational inclusion training for the staff of schools and educational institutions are planned. The time required for implementing the programme will depend on the established goals of a given institution regarding its population and which disabilities are considered. The fundamental axes are: trained personnel, specialized equipment, and accessibility.
THE STORY OF OSVALDO TERRONES BORDA
“... is part of the university team creating accessible content.”
In 2009 Osvaldo, who is vision impaired, graduated high school and began to pursue an Inclusive Diploma offered by the Programme of Inclusion of Students with Disabilities at the University of Santa Catarina. A very serious young man, at first he felt a bit insecure and found it difficult to make friends. He and his family had spent a long while trying to find an institution that would be helpful to Osvaldo, but they did not have much success and they barely knew the Braille system. But Osvaldo is a very bright young man, and as soon as he started classes he received support from specialized “tiflotechnic” equipment – a reading software programme. He learned how to use the software, which then gave him access to the content of all the different courses. He also started using textured graphics, Braille, orientation courses, and accessible transportation. Despite his visual disability, the accessibility of the campus allowed Osvaldo to become familiar with all areas of the university, supported by his cane. In July 2011, Osvaldo earned his diploma with honours and registered for a programme in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Incredibly, he concluded his ICT degree in August, and he is currently working on finishing an Engineering degree in less than a year. His development has been so exceptional that the university has invited him to work in its Technical Support Department, since he has become an expert in repairing equipment, in software installation, and other skills. He is also part of a university team developing new accessible content for the Inclusive Education professional programme. Osvaldo also has his own business repairing electronic equipment and buying and selling parts for diverse computer. Today he lives by himself in a house close to the university, where he is happy and self-sufficient. www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSNL-D3PnVk