Promoting Access and Participation of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education
"Promoting Access and Participation of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education" project is funded by the Catholic Relief Services, it was designed as a result of a study carried out by QADER to examine the needs of university students enrolled in Palestinian universities who suffer from various disabilities. This project aimed to promote equal opportunities for students with disabilities with other students in higher education institutions, thus achieving education for all Palestinians, in addition to implementing the recommendations of the conference held by QADER and Bethlehem University in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
Phase one of the project:
01/10/2012 - 10/31/2013
University students, and the administrative and academic staff at Al-Quds University - Abu Dis and Hebron University.
This stage included working with both Al-Quds and Hebron Universities due to a strong need, based on an exploratory study and data collection about the status of students with disabilities and the nature of the services both universities provided to them, as well as conducting the necessary consultations, including presenting and clarifying the idea of the project for these universities. Within the framework of the first phase of the project with both Al-Quds and Hebron Universities, the following were implemented:
- Empowering students with disabilities in both universities through several meetings and workshops aimed at supporting students to face the various challenges related to the psychological impact of disability, engaging in university life like other students, and participating in various activities.
- Raising awareness among students and the university community about disability issues and the rights of students with disabilities in accessing higher education through conducting number of workshops, meetings, trainings, and other activities. Approximately 615 students were targeted in both universities. Among the students, there were 15 students with disabilities and 35 students supporting students with disabilities at Al-Quds University, and 15 students with disabilities and 30 students supporting students with disabilities at Hebron University.
- Forming committees to follow up the issues of students with disabilities and working with them. These committees consisted of specialists and decision-makers at the university in addition to one of the active students with disabilities, so that these committees are the permanent access point for students with disabilities and a professional reference for the university in dealing with any issue related to the topic of disability.
- Establishing a resource center in both Al-Quds and Hebron Universities so that students with various disabilities can obtain the highest level of aid and technical support for learning on an equal basis with the rest of the students, as well as provide all the supplies they need in their studies, such as talking computers, magnifiers, recorders, braille printers, and more.
- Reviewing and analyzing the policies and regulations of each university, comparing them with other universities, and preparing a report that reflects the status of these policies and procedures and their response to the rights and needs of students with disabilities in higher education.
- Preparing a 3-year plan to promote justice and equality in each university, which identified the issues and priorities that will be worked on, and which was prepared by the Disability Affairs Committee and representatives of both university administrations.
Phase two of the project:
01/10/2012 - 10/31/2013
University students and the administrative and academic staff of Palestine Ahliya University, Al-Quds University - Abu Dis and Hebron University
The second phase of the project built on the results achieved within the first phase, and included the following main aspects:
- Cooperating with relevant departments in partner universities to educate academic and non-academic workers about the rights and needs of students with disabilities.
- Collaborating with the Engineering Faculty at Palestine Polytechnic University to conduct a survey and study of all facilities and buildings of partner universities with regard to accessibility, and how to work on required renovations and cost estimates.
- Implementing the outcomes of the plan for justice and equality for people with disabilities at each university.
- Cooperating with the Ministry of Education to conduct a review and analysis of the legal and policy framework for the higher education sector with regard to students with disabilities.