November 1, 2017

Regional JFDP Alumni Conference ”Enhancing Accessibility of the Higher Education to the Disabled”

Regional JFDP Alumni Conference ”Enhancing Accessibility of the Higher Education to the Disabled”

Dear JFDP Alumni,
We are pleased to inform you of the positive outcome of our JFDP Alumni Grant (JAG) application relating the organization of a Regional JFDP Alumni Conference on the topic of ”Enhancing Accessibility of the Higher Education to the Disabled” to be held on Nov 22-24 in Ohrid, Macedonia.

Conference General Information

It has been identified that citizens with special needs in the South East European (SEE) Countries, have limited access to all levels of education, in particular the Higher Education (HE).

The unifying goal for most of the South East European (SEE) Countries is their strive to become candidates for, and/or members states of the European Union (EU). One of the fulfilling requirements is to enable equal rights among all citizens, including enabling equal access to the HE for all citizens. Particularly, in the case of Macedonia, where recently the draft law for equal rights of all citizens regardless of nationality, sex, race, age, etc. has been passed in the Parliament, it is of an utmost importance to provide proof that laws and by-laws w.r.t. the equal rights of all citizens are not only delivered in the Parliament but as well properly practiced.

Compared to this, one of the most significant qualities of the HE in the United States (US) of America is its high accessibility to the citizens with special needs (disabillty.gov, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people.rit.edu/easi/). The US Government observes the needs of the persons with special needs through a continuously developing process and cooperation with the associations of the persons with disabilities/special needs, striving for more significant enhancement and improvement in all sectors. The US has a long experience of implementing practices on how to enable and enhance access to all its citizens regardless of their physical or other disabilities. Such positive practices on how to improve HE accessibility are a real treasure for developing countries and countries in transition and could be used as an excellent starting point for addressing the issue of enhancing accessibility of the HE for the persons with disabilities in their corresponding countries.

Among other activities, the US Government through the YES programme in the SEE countries in part addresses this issue in the secondary schools by encouraging also students with special needs to apply for the one year scholarship. However, in Macedonia, in the field of HE, there is no running programme specialized only for persons with special needs. Furthermore, the only HE Institution with a running program related to the persons with special needs is the Faculty of Philosophy within the University of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, where students/candidates are educated and trained to work with people with special needs.

In view of the aforementioned, the main goal of our team is to gather regional JFDP Alumni and to enable fruitful discussions during our Conference on “Enhancing Accessibility to Higher Education for the Disabled”. Thereby, the identified problem of lack of inclusion of the persons with special needs in the HE shall be put under the spot-light.

Book of Abstracts (ENG)
Draft Action Plan (ENG)

Book of Abstracts (MKD)
Draft Action Plan (MKD)

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