“The work in the center is a message that is not limited to students, but extends to include administrators, faculty members, and the surrounding community,” said Samah Khamis, an assistant professor of child teaching methods at the Faculty of Early Childhood Curriculum and Teaching Methods at Mansoura University.
She noted that about 250 students receive the center’s services at Mansoura University, in addition to dozens of faculty members and a number of families of students with disabilities.
Iman Abul-Fadl, deputy director of the center, explained that the work plan gives priority to educational services and helps convert courses to suit the needs of each student, in addition to working to change the format of examinations into online ones. It also works to increase awareness among students, administrators and faculty members about ways to be more inclusive of students with disabilities.
The Mansoura center includes a number of volunteers to help people with disabilities—something the centers ’management hopes to increase. This is seen as an indicator of increasing awareness of the problems of people with disabilities and their right to receive full services, Khamis says. “A change in the perception of cases leads to more positive change in their favor,” she said.
Hopes the Program Will Expand
While the project started in five public universities, plans to expand it to other universities are still unclear, and the budget has not yet been announced.
“My university does not provide any assistance services, there are no pathways designated for us or aids in the classrooms,” said Sherine Abdul-Gawad, a third-year student in the Department of Documents and Libraries at Minia University’s Faculty of Arts, who has used a wheelchair since childhood. “Our accommodation rooms are allocated on the ground floors only, as there are no elevators,” she added.
Abdul-Gawad expresses her hope to see a support center opening at her university soon. “I heard about the services and I think they are very good,” she said. “I look forward to seeing a similar center opened in my university soon.”