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Disability at higher education :

international trends and challenges


Prof. Serge Ebersold
Krasnoiarsk, 29-30 october 2009
OECD research on transition to tertiary
education and to employment
• Identifying the enabling effect of policies and
practices by looking at :
– Good transition policies (national reports and literature
review ; comparative report 2010)
– Good transition practices (longitudinal study 2011)
– Good transition skills (case studies 2011)
Why looking at transition to tertiary
education?
Higher education a key factor for accessing to
employment and social inclusion
• In Norway, employment rate of PWD with tertiary
education is 30% higher than the employment rate of
those without tertiary education

• In Ireland, employment opportunities of PWD with a


tertiary education diploma is 5% higher than
employment opportunity of general population with a
tertiary education diploma
Mind the gaps
• Early tracking (special schools, further education)

• Change in definition of disability

• Autonomy of institutions

• Change in requirements made to institutions

• Change in requirements made to individuals

• Transition as a cross sectoral issue focusing on empowerment


of individuals
What can we say ?
An increasing number of SEN students
identified in tertiary education
20,00

15,00

10,00

5,00

0,00
Irl (93- USA (87- F (00-06) DK (04- Ger (00- UK (94-
05) 03) 06) 06) 06)
Number of identified SEN students in higher
education by type of studies

40
35
30
25 F (06)
20 Ger (06)
15 USA (99)
10
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Trend reflects the impact of inclusive
education policies
• Non discrimination legislation

• Incentives for HEIs and supports for students

• Policies and strategic plans focus on success of all


children in schools
– appropriate education,
– reduction of drop out rates,
– Improvement of pedagogical accessibility
– Schools made accountable for accessibility and success
• Increasing awareness to diversity in higher education
(diversification of profiles, disability action plans,…)

• Diversification of educational path opportunities :


– key competences,
– pathways between educational sectors, a
– ffirmative action for target groups

• Creation of transition services or follow up services


Diversity of profile among countries
80,00

70,00

60,00
DK (06)
50,00
F (06)
40,00 Ger (06)
Irl (07)
30,00
USA (99)
20,00

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A trend linked rooted in an increasing number
of students with a learning difficulty
80
70
60 DK (04)
50 DK (06)
40 F (00)
30 F (06)
Ger (00)
20
Ger (06)
10
Irl (05)
0
Irl (07)
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USA (99)

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Access for SEN students may not be fluent
or may not reflect personal choices

• In the United States,


• SEN students take longer to access to tertiary education then their peers
• are four times less likely than non disabled students to be admitted to
long courses or to enroll in institutions offering a first postgraduate.

• In Norway, 24% of SEN students consider following a course


they did not want to.

• In France, disabilities affecting upper secondary students differ


from those of disabled students in tertiary education
SEN students are more likely to face difficulties
in achievement
– In the United States, entry to higher education may result
in failure, especially for students with learning, behavioral
or emotional difficulties
– In Ireland, students having a sensory impairment have
lower access opportunities then those with other types of
disability
– In the Netherlands,
• 50% of SEN students fall behind in their studies,

• SEN students are more likely to drop out,

• SEN students are twice as prone as their non disabled peers to


discontinue their undergraduate studies
SEN students tend to have more erratic
pathways within tertiary education
• Germany : SEN students overproportionnaly
– change their study programme (23% compared to 19%)

– or institution (18% compared to 16%)

– and drop out (20% compared to 13%).

• Austria : SEN students are more likely to drop out (17.3% as opposed
to 13%).
• United States : SEN students are overproportionnaly unable
consistently to keep pace with the requirements of a sustained full-time
course, or study part time.
• In many OECD countries, students take longer to achieve their course
SEN students face difficulties in accessing to
employment in spite of increasing access to higher
education

• Employment is not always an issue for higher education


institutions especially university

• Students tend to follow courses and programmes having looser


links with the labour market

• Students face difficulties in accessing to internship


Inequalities in access and success tend to :

• Maintain, if not widen, the qualifications gap between PWD


and non disabled persons.
• Perpetuate or even aggravate the problems experienced by
PWD in entering employment, especially for those with
mental, emotional or behavioral disorders.
• Perpetuate a medical approach of disability (time)
• Expose SWD to exclusion and to criminality
Transition opportunities depend on the approach
of disability
Disability as a defect (France, Germany, Czech
Republic)

• Disabled students have • Needs assessment


mainly an impairment or an procedures at HEI’s level
illness weak or medically oriented
(disclosure issue).
• Diversity is considered as
• Accessibility mainly reduced
an exception for exceptional
to physical issues
students accomodations
• supports are referred to a • success delegated to
social or a medical problem students’ motivation and
ressources .
Disability as a need to be meet by HEI’s (IRL,
USA, DK, NW)
• Disabled students have mainly • Needs evaluation at HEI level.
an educational need.
• Accessibility has to meet all
• Diversity is an issue to be met students’ needs
by institutions
• HEI has a responsibility in
• admission strategies foster students’ success (data in
disclosure
some countries).

• supports are a mean


empowering each student to
success
Issues to be tackled
• Equal opportunities in terms of access and success within
education (non discrimination legislation)
• Educational institutions responsive to the diversity issue and to
diversification of student profiles (technical, financial and
human incentives)
• Disabled students able to demonstrate their sense of
independence and self-advocacy (empowerment beyond
assistance).
• A developmental conception of disability fostering on
resources and their enabling effect instead of impairment
• Continuity through :
– Consistent and coherent links between different levels of education,
– Procedures allowing for coordinating general and vocational education,
– Procedures allowing for cross sectoral approach and complementarity
between educational ,employment and welfare provision.
• Service providers allowing for continuity among sectors, level
of education and provision (e.g. transition or connexion services)
• Statistical data allowing for :
– Monitoring individual career paths,
– Identifying aspects conducive to the continuity and consistency of
pathways through education and towards employment,
– Understanding the factors that impede the educational progress
and social inclusion of disabled people
– Appreciating the positive or negative impact of policies and
practices
– Reliable international comparisons in order to be able to
benchmark policies and practices.
References
• OECD, (2003), Disability at higher education; OECD, Paris.
• Ebersold, S. Adapting higher education to the needs of disabled students :
development, challenges and prospects in OECD (2008) Higher education to
2030, OECD, Paris.

• Ebersold, S, (2007). An affiliating participation for an active citizenship,


Scandinavian journal of disability research, 9;3

• Ebersold, S., (2007). « Être étudiant handicapé et présenter une déficience ». in


Échanges santé sociales : Quelles trajectoires d’insertion pour les personnes
handicapées ?, ENSP
Thank you
Serge.ebersold@inshea.fr