More and more students with handicap study at university

29th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The University of Ghent UGent saw the number of students with some or other limitation increase from 538 in 2008 to 815 at the start of the current academic year. What handicaps do most of these students have? Of the 364 so-called disabled students enrolled at Cursief, a support service at the University of Ghent, 171 suffered learning disorders. The University of Antwerp UA experienced a similar phenomenon, with the number of students enjoying special facilities increasing from 57 in 2005 to 235 in 2010. Most of those registered in 2010 had learning disorders, of whom 160 struggled with ADHD or autism and 65 recorded to have a physical handicap or chronic disease. “Institutions are more open to students with a limitation,” says Meggi Verstichele from Steunpunt Inclusief Hoger Onderwijs SIHO, a high school and university partnership initiative. “At the same time legislation has also changed. Since signing a UN treaty, Belgium is committed to guaranteeing equal opportunities in education. Any refusal to make reasonable adjustments could lead to allegations of discrimination.” Institutions are faced with a long list of concessions; among them digitalised courses, compensated software, bigger examination papers for the visually impaired, more time for written exams for dyslexics and so on. In response to the need for converted boarding facilities for wheelchair users, for example, the University  of Hasselt rents forty special rooms near the campus for students with mobility problems. Other logistic adjustments include sloping access, lifts, toilets and auditoriums for wheelchair users. And yet the battle is far from won. Says Verstichele: “We still receive reports about lecturers who refuse point-blank to set a different examination paper for students with dyslexia, sticking to multiple-choice papers when they now these students struggle find it hard.”

0 Comments To This Article