Academics’ input to tertiary environment for persons with disabilities applauded

1Institutions of higher education have come a long way in ensuring a learning environment for a diverse student population. However, much still has to be done and in some institutions only baby steps have been taken.

With this in mind, the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South (NCPPDSA) supports newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Higher Education, Professor Narend Baijnath. “We are thrilled that someone of his calibre will be in this strategic position. He has a profound understanding of the challenges and the rights of persons with disabilities in higher education institutions,” says Ms Therina Wentzel, National Director of the NCPPDSA.

During his time at UNISA, Professor Baijnath has played an integral role in the transformation of the environment so that it is favourable for learners with disabilities. Professor Baijnath has also offered extensive international input with regards to examination concessions for persons with disabilities at tertiary institutions, as well as the facilitation of policy change regarding adopting a universal design approach.

In a report released by the Council on Higher Education in 2005, it was highlighted that consideration needs to be given to the extent to which students with disabilities can participate equally in the process of teaching and learning and thus have a fair chance of success. “Though statistics remain elusive at best, we are eager to support tertiary institutions in sharpening up on accommodating students with disabilities,” says Wentzel.

“We would like to offer our best wishes to Professor Baijnath in his new appointment. We look forward to seeing more transformation to the benefit of persons with disabilities.” concludes Wentzel.

About the National Council for Person with Physical Disabilities in South Africa

The NCPPDSA is a leading and vociferous national non-profit organisation promoting the rights and the enhancement of the quality of life of persons with disabilities. The NCPPDSA is the project owner of Casual Day, one of the biggest fundraising campaign in South Africa.

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