Provision for Students with Disabilities in Cyprus Higher Education

Higher Education (Impact Factor: 1.06). 01/2008; 55(1). DOI: 10.1007/s10734-007-9070-8
Source: OAI


Internationally, the number of students with disabilities entering higher education institutions is on the rise. Research estimates that 8–10% of students attending higher education are registered with disability, with learning difficulties being the most commonly reported disability. Widening participation in higher education has been supported by legislative changes, inclusive education practices, the use of ICT and accessible facilities and programs and, ultimately, an increasing belief among students with disabilities that higher education maximizes their opportunities for employment and independent living. Within the Cypriot context, research on disability, access and provision in higher education is limited. This study was a part of a large-scale study (PERSEAS) funded by the EU. From the original sample, 15 students attending private higher education institutions in Cyprus reported disability (i.e., sensory impairment, dyslexia, physical disabilities) and were selected for focus group discussions. Also, interviews and focus groups were conducted with the Headmasters and teachers, respectively, in 10 private higher education institutions. This study yielded interesting results regarding the current state of provision (e.g., concessions for exams and assignments, infrastructure, teaching modification, counseling services) as well as issues of social inclusion, equality of opportunity and entitlement to education.

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Available from: Dimitra Hartas, Oct 17, 2014
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    • "In other cases, they failed to reveal the disability because it would have placed them at a disadvantage, or they were fearful of being stigmatised , as in the case of mental illness (Martin 2010; Riddell, Tinklin, and Wilson 2005). Sometimes, it was simply because they did not consider themselves as having any special need or disability (Hadjikakou and Hartas 2008). In general, these students, whether their disability was invisible or not, did not want to be identified with it. "
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    ABSTRACT: The partial results of ongoing research in the ‘University Barriers and Aids Identified by Students with Disabilities’ Project are presented. This four-year study (2011–2014) was carried out by a University of Seville research team with lecturers from a variety of fields and areas of knowledge (Educational Sciences, Economics, Health Sciences and Experimental Sciences). The general aim was to discover, from listening to the students themselves, barriers and aids they identified as affecting access, academic performance and overall perception of their higher education experience. The biographical narrative method, which allows the participants to talk freely about themselves without silencing their subjectivity, was used. This information was acquired by data collection techniques, such as in-depth interviews, observations, photographs and interviews with key persons in the life of each student. A structural analysis was implemented using an inductive system of categories and codes included in the MaxODA10 data analysis program. This study revealed the most personal and private feelings of the participants as they discussed such things as their perception as students, identification of disabilities or their strategies for facing ‘adversities’. The discourse revealed higher education as a privileged scenario in which they are socially included and able to reinvent an identity that may have deteriorated during other stages of their education.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Further and Higher Education
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    • "Como Matthews (2009) recomienda las universidades deberían tener respuestas proactivas antes que reactivas para el alumnado con discapacidad. Y deberían entender las experiencias universitarias tanto para este alumnado como para el resto como una oportunidad de empoderamiento, al contribuir a incrementar su conocimiento, desarrollar habilidades sociales, maximizar sus oportunidades para el empleo y una vida independiente (Fuller et al., 2004; Hadjikakou & Hartas, 2008; Hurst, 1996). "
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    ABSTRACT: This article presents the partial results of a study that analysed the barriers and means of support that students with disabilities find in classrooms and other university settings (offices, departments, libraries, etc.), using the biographical narrative method. The results of this article focus exclusively on the obstacles and means of support identified by humanities students, with the information organized in relation to the institution in general, infrastructures and architectural barriers, lecturers and their teaching methods, fellow students and proposals for improving universities and classrooms. Finally, the conclusion discusses the main findings regarding how the university facilitates or hinders the participants' learning processes in this study. From this perspective, and taking the social model of disability as a reference, it is concluded that in order to become inclusive, the university must commit to adopting proactive measures that eliminate the barriers preventing these students from learning and from participating fully.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Cultura y Educación
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    • "It can become a primary barrier and is more often due to deficient faculty training than to inappropriate attitudes on the part of lecturers. Similar findings are reported in work by Castellana and Sala (2005), Hadjikakou and Hartas (2008) and Moswela and Mukhopadhyay (2011), who conclude that ignorance of the issues facing students – and how to deal with them – is widespread; these authors recommend better faculty training as the best way to guarantee a quality, diversity-centred education. In light of such findings, it is highly recommended that universities incorporate specific training 156 A. Moriña Díez et al. in working with students with disabilities into existing faculty training programmes – even more so if we take into account recent studies which find that lecturers who have participated in some type of diversity/disability training are more knowledgeable and sensitive to the learning needs of their students (Murray et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: This article presents an analysis of how lecturers respond to students with disabilities, the initial question being: do lecturers aid or hinder students? Findings pertain to a broader research project being developed by a multidisciplinary team employing a non-usual research methodology in higher education (HE) research and students with disabilities: biographical-narrative methodology. The general aim is to analyse – by listening to the students themselves – barriers and support identified as affecting access, academic performance and overall perception of the HE experience. The present paper analyses lecturer-centred data to focus specifically on one of the objectives of our research project: the role that lecturers play in the inclusive education of students with disabilities. Unlike other international research, this article explores the barriers and support differentiating between five fields of knowledge: health sciences, experimental sciences, social sciences (law and education), engineering and technology and humanities. Findings are organized in four topic areas: lecturer attitudes, practices in the classroom, curricular adaptations and faculty training. Key findings are discussed in the conclusions section, together with a discussion of contributions made by earlier studies.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Higher Education Research and Development
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