Person-centred support model for university students
- UNESCO Chair on Support Technologies for Educational Inclusion
- Salesian Polytechnic University
- Country of Implementation
- Latin America & Caribbean
- South America
- in Quito
- Start Year
- First published
“One of my dreams is to finish college and work in a foundation. In this way, I feel that I can help and support other people.” Valeria Analuisa, a psychology student with a visual impairment
Universidad Politécnica Salesiana (UPS) is a university based in Quito, Ecuador, which implements the UNESCO Chair on Support Technologies for Educational Inclusion project. Students with disabilities receive support based on a holistic, person-centred approach and a reasonable accommodation plan, which includes use of assistive technology, adapted teaching and learning evaluation methods, sign language interpretation, and peer support. In 2018, more than 186 students with disabilities at UPS received support.
University students with disabilities in Ecuador face barriers to learning because assistive technologies are often unavailable and teaching and learning evaluation methods are not inclusive.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
UPS students with disabilities and their families participate in a functional assessment of their educational needs and preferences to develop a person-centred support plan and a reasonable accommodation plan. Students learn the same academic content as their peers, but professors make reasonable adjustments to their teaching and learning evaluation methods. The students manage their own learning process and support needs by drawing on a variety of resources, including assistive technology, sign language interpretation, and a peer support programme between students with and without disabilities. The university also runs workshops for teachers and families on person-centred educational planning. Through the UNESCO Chair project, UPS has supported students with visual, auditory, and motor impairments; autism spectrum disorders; and intellectual disabilities. In 2015, 92 students with disabilities attended UPS; and by 2018, that number had more than doubled to 186.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The project has an annual cost of about $100,000. Students pay tuition but are eligible for a full or partial scholarship according to their financial situation. The university allocates $30,000 to such scholarships annually. Students with disabilities in Ecuador also receive a monthly stipend through a government programme. The university’s person-centred support has been successfully replicated across its other two campuses and has been shared with other universities in Ecuador. UPS plans to offer transition programmes to graduating students, with an emphasis on internships and soft skills development to improve job-readiness and will engage student associations to become more involved in the peer-support programme.