The importance of inclusive education has been recognised globally as critically important for the advancement of the right to education. The retention and successful throughput of students with disabilities in higher education institutions is at a critical juncture. In Africa, the transformation of higher education systems so that they provide quality inclusive education for all students is in its infancy.Students with disabilities are for the greater part still not able to equally participate in higher education institutions as their abled bodied counterparts. The Disability Rights and Law Schools Project in Africa partner universities met in Pretoria to discuss the current state of inclusion in higher education with regards to students with disabilities.
The meeting which took place from 9 to 10 November alongside the 5th Annual African Disability Rights Conference saw the network of partner universities deliberating on the policies at their universities that promote inclusion of students with disabilities; profile of students with disabilities and the support services available to students with disabilities among others issues. The network which includes University of Botswana; Chancellor College, Malawi; Dodoma University, Tanzania; Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique started in 2009 with the support of Open Society Foundation with the aim of developing disability rights curricula, research and outreach programs.
The Head of the Disability Unit at the University of Pretoria, Ms. Maria Ramaahlo workshopped guidelines for drafting and reviewing disability policies with the aim of improving the learning and active participation of students with disabilities in the higher education context. The meeting concluded with partner universities developing a plan of action to draft and review inclusive policies and practices that contribute to ensuring equal access, participation and success of students with disabilities.
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