mr wyclife ong eta dr nyambura salome department of educational foundations kenyatta university
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Use of ICT to Promote Access and Participation of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education: Benefits and Challenges. Mr. Wyclife Ong’eta & Dr. Nyambura Salome Department of Educational Foundations Kenyatta University. Introduction.

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mr wyclife ong eta dr nyambura salome department of educational foundations kenyatta university

Use of ICT to Promote Access and Participation of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education: Benefits and Challenges

Mr. Wyclife Ong’eta & Dr. Nyambura Salome

Department of Educational Foundations

Kenyatta University

slide2

Introduction

  • Disability prevalence by World Bank (2007) - 10-12% of global population
  • UNESCO (2011) – 186 million children with disabilities in the world
  • One third of all children out of school (75 million) have disabilities
  • 90% of persons with disabilities in sub-Saharan African are unemployed
  • UNESCO (2011) excluding persons with disabilities from workforce causes loss of GDP 10-35.8%
  • Some causes for exclusion:
    • Attitudinal – Social or institutional attitudes that persons with disabilities cannot or should not be educated.
    • Physical – inaccessible classrooms, toilets, dining etc
    • Pedagogical - little or no training of teachers in meeting the educational and communication needs of children with disabilities.
    • Infrastructural – lack of, or, inaccessible transportation to school
    • Policy – presence of policies...but lack of strategies to address barriers
    • Lack of knowledge in identifying the best Assistive Technology (AT) solution per individual with disability.
policy frameworks
Policy Frameworks
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008), states that persons with disabilities have the right to participate in all development programmes.
  • UN General Assembly (2009) recognised importance of including disability in all MDG programmes as an importnat step for inclusive development.
  • Kenya Vision 2030: Social Pillar, Build a just and cohesive society with social equity in a clean and secure environment for all...
  • Kenya Constitution (GoK, 2010): Bill of Rights Chptr 4, Article 43 (f) Education is a basic human right that every Kenyan must be accorded...Article 27...guarantees equality and freedome from discrimination for all Kenyans...
  • The Kenya Persons with Disabilities Act (2004) mandate to implement the rest of the Act on the rights, privileges and protection of persons with disabilities such as inclusion of persons with disabilities in education and training programmes.
  • Disability policy framework in Higher Education (2009) mandate enhance inclusive education and effective access to the university content for students with disabilities.
inclusive education
Inclusive Education
  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006): states everyone has a right to education...access to education is a fundamental right of persons with disabilities.
  • Education be provided, wherever possible, in an “inclusive” manner; within the context of the mainstream educational system and not in a segregated setting. Article 24 contains specific obligations that include the provision of “reasonable accommodations” for students with disabilities. Inclusion of SWD in mainstream schools increases their learning opportunities through interaction with peers and encourages their participation in the life of community.
  • This uniting process has a great impact on the societal development. Works towards elimination of all physical and invisible barriers that hinder the provision of education to learners with disabilities and other special needs in the ordinary classroom and in the neighbourhood (GoK, 2003).

4

challenges gap between policy and practice
Challenges: Gap between policy and practice
  • The exclusion of persons with disabilities still prevalent...
  • Lack of assistive technologies to support students with disabilities (SWD)
  • Discriminatory infrastructure in many institutions...no ramps or steep ramps
  • High numbers of unemployment amongst people with disability (PWD)..Quality of life of PWD significantly low compared to peers.
  • Lack of inclusive practices in mainstream schools and tertiary institutions…pedagogical
  • Low access to Higher education...only 1% of undergraduate students have disability.
  • Limited monitoring & evaluation on policy implementation.

Consequence: Lack of education by PWD dictates they’ll continue to miss out on their lifelong benefits e.g. better job opportunities, greater participation in society, improved health and better understanding of civil rights.

theoretical underpinning
Theoretical underpinning
  • The social model theory: Disability as something imposed on PWD by the way they are unnecessarily excluded from full participation in the society. Turns attention to identifying barriers that restrict full participation.
  • ICF model theory: Focuses on dynamic interaction between health conditions (diseases, disorders, injuries, traumas, etc) of PWD & contextual factors (environment). Turns attention on the effect this interactions have on SWD participation in academics.

Disability, therefore should be viewed as a dynamic & changing experience defined by changing nature of experience…

slide8

Accessible ICTs can bridge the gap in Policy and Practice

  • Accessible ICTs have potential to provide PWD with unprecedented levels of access to education, skills training and employment, as well as the opportunity to participate in the economic, cultural and social life of their community.
  • Use of accessible ICT enables, an equitable learning space through enhancing communication with teachers and fellow students (without disabilities), providing access to learning materials and by establishing a venue to complete course work, assignments and examinations.
identifying best ats for swd
Identifying best ATs for SWD
  • Unesco (2010) identifying best assistive technology solution often requires an in-depth needs assessment to understand how a difficulty or impairment impacts computer use and/or access to an educational resource...by SWD
  • Exs of ATs include:
    • stand-alone devices that aid mobility e.g. Wheelchairs and communication e.g. hearing aids.
    • Include hardware and software that enable access to a computer e.g. an adaptive keyboard or screen reader.
    • Default settings on computer could be adjusted depending on need.
slide10

Identifying best ATs for SWD

  • Use of alternative pointing or input device, such as a roller ball or switch, may be required.
  • Users who are unable to access a keyboard using their hands or arms but don’t have a good head, neck and upper torso control may be able to type on the keyboard using a mouthstick or head/chin point.
  • The accent of the synthesized voice may also be a challenge if not contextualized to region.
  • Printed materials, videotapes, televised presentations, overhead transparencies and other visual materials also creates access challenges. These barriers can be overcome with alternative media such as audiotapes, braille printouts, electronic text, tectile drawings and aurial descriptions.
slide11

Good infrastructure = Effective Communication

  • The design of buildings should not present a barrier..in accessing ICTs:
  • External environment – parking spaces, entrance doors
  • Horizontal circulation – internal door design and width corridors, signage and way-finding
  • Vertical circulation – internal stairs, elevators and ramps
  • Facilities – accessible toilets, sinks
  • Emergency exits – auditory and visual alarm systems, evacuation policies, evacuation chairs
  • Accessible entrances – level entry or a mixture of steps and ramp
slide12

Benefits of ICTS in Education of PWD

  • General Benefits:
    • Enables greater learner autonomy
    • Unlocks hidden potential for those with communication difficulties
    • Enables students to demonstrate achievement in ways which might not be possible with traditional methods
    • Enables tasks to be tailored to suit individual skills and abilities
    • Benefits for SWD:
    • Improve students\' independent access to education
    • Able to accomplish tasks working at own pace
slide13

Benefits of ICTS in Education of PWD

  • Visually impaired students using the Internet can access information alongside sighted peers
  • Students with profound and multiple learning difficulties can communicate more easily
  • Visually impaired students using internet can access information alongside sighted peers.
  • Students using voice communication aids able to gain confidence and social credibility.
  • Increased ICT confidence motivates them to use the Internet at home for schoolwork and leisure interests.
slide14

Benefits of ICTS in Education of PWD

  • Benefits for teachers and non-teaching staff:
    • Reduced isolation for teachers working in special educational fields, enabling them to communicate electronically with colleagues
    • Support for reflection on professional practice through online communication
    • Improved skills for staff and a greater understanding of access technology used by students
    • Enhanced professional development and improved effectiveness in using ICTs with students, through collaboration with peers
    • Materials already in electronic form (for example, from the internet) are more easily adapted into accessible resources such as large print or Braille materials.
  • Benefits for parents and care-givers:
    • Use of voice communication aids encourages parents and care-givers to have higher expectations of children’s sociability and potential level of participation.
slide15

Conclusion

  • ICTs have been viewed as a critical tool in enhancing the access and participation of SWD to education. Important for the stakeholders of education to ensure the provision of the best ATs per SWD & an equitable learning space for all students & staff regardless of their disabilities. Key aspects to focus on:
  • Infrastructure – availability of ATs, computers, connectivity, institutions e.g. banks, government offices etc
  • Availability of support – from government & agencies on promoting access & participation of SWDs, provision of information e.g. media – brialle or audio county editions, financial information etc
  • Needs assessment – according to Social Model & ICF model, profile the levels of disability and target each adequately
  • Training – of staff and non-teaching staff on needs & trends in Special education.
  • Co-operation research –research into needs and experiences of SWD & faculty members, sharing of experiences and expertise, and research into the development of new and better AT solutions and service-delivery models.
  • Evaluation – Implementation of various policy reforms must be monitored to determine whether they will achieve their stated goals and to analyze and interpret the results and inform further policy intervention.
slide16

ASANTENI

Thank you

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