UDSM set to implement policy on disability and special educational needs

Sat, 01.Apr.2023 17.34

By Zamda George, CMU

The University of Dar es Salaam, through its Centre for Disability Services (CDS), has stressed that it is well set to implement its policy on disability and special educational needs for enhancing equal participation in learning and working environment to staff and students with disabilities.

Speaking at the capacity building training for UDSM members of staff on disability and special educational needs, the Deputy Vice Chancellor responsible for Planning, Finance and Administration, Prof. Bernadeta Killian said the implementation of this policy was necessary as the University considered it a vital tool to support equal learning opportunities. 

Prof. Killian, who officiated this training which was hosted by CDS at the University library hall recently said, the policy aimed to ensure that individuals with disabilities and special educational needs were provided with equal access to educational/employment opportunities.

“This policy is among the University’s key steps to enhance inclusivity for people with disabilities. Let me assure you that we will do our best to solve the challenges of people with special needs here at the University”, said Prof. Killian.

She further said that, to improve support services given to individuals with special needs, the University decided to upgrade the Special Education Needs Unit (SENU) that served students with special needs and made it a Centre for Disability Services-CDS) which would serve both students and staff with special needs.

Treating fairly and eliminating discrimination

In the same vein, the CDS Manager, Dr. Sarah Kisanga who presented the policy on disability and special educational needs at this training, insisted on the provision of regular training aimed at  awareness creation on the UDSM Disability Policy  to the University members of staff and the community at large

“Once this policy is well known and understood to many of us, it will indeed help people with special needs to be treated fairly and hence eliminate discrimination”. The policy is aimed at ensuring that appropriate accommodations are in place to support conducive learning/work environment for individuals with disabilities”, said Dr. Kisanga.

One among the facilitators of this training, the former Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SECOMU), Prof. Edward Bagandanshwa, gave a presentation on the historical development of special educational needs and disability issues in Tanzania.

He recalled that, he had studied at many universities, but none had a disability policy as UDSM. He thus commended UDSM for having members of staff dedicated to teaching and supporting students with special needs. "The University of Dar es Salaam and special educational needs are inseparable."

The training, which was attended by many participants, was an important initiative towards creating a more inclusive and supportive learning and working environment for all students and staff members at the University of Dar es Salaam.

“This is indeed an indication that the University is committed to enhance inclusivity to staff and students with disabilities. We wish that the CDS will continue to be the leading Centre in promoting disability rights and inclusive education within the University of Dar es Salaam and beyond”, said one of the training participants.