Chapter 3: Concerted efforts by universities and the community

3.1 Recommended structure of accessibility service management

  • Institution-community network
    • Collaborated services and resources provision
  • Cross-institutional network
    • periodic and cross-institutional review by the Cross-institutional Accessibility Services Committee
  • Intra-university coordination
    • the University’s centralized management by the Accessibility Services Advisory Committee
  • Cross-unit level
    • working groups and service coordination by the Office of Accessibility Services
  • Departmental level
    • service coordination and execution by the Equal Opportunities Advisors
  • Student and staff level
    • user experiences and advisory roles of students and staff with disabilities

3.2 Institution-community network

3.2.1. Significance

  • The concerted efforts by the universities and the community aim at building up a stronger voice to advocate the government

    • to formulate inclusive education and accessibility policies; and
    • to allocate more financial resources and manpower to promoting inclusive education in the tertiary setting.

3.2.2. Collaborated services and resources provision

  • To collaborate with different stakeholders (e.g. non-governmental organizations (NGOs) serving people with disabilities, publishers, special schools) to provide accessibility services such as alternative formats conversion, advice on any latest assistive technology, supported employment of students with disabilities, disability- and/or accessibility-related research, training workshops, assistive aids purchase or booking.
  • To seek advice and professional expertise from NGOs serving people with disabilities regarding good practices and experiences of accessibility services.
  • To collaborate with the publishers on disseminating the alternative formats of the texts, e.g. screen reader-compatible electronic version, electronic books, audio books and captioned educational videos.
  • To work with secondary schools to organize experiential programmes for secondary school students with disabilities to experience the campus environment and to be better prepared for transition to universities. It also facilitates university staff to identify any accessibility needs of prospective students earlier for planning ahead the accessibility service policy.
  • To enhance accessibility services and offer financial support for students with disabilities with donations or grants provided by different community parties.
  • To form a network of community resources and share this list of community resources as a database of external community resources for students’ reference.
  • To provide concerted advice to the government regarding the allocation of financial resources and manpower to promoting inclusive education in the tertiary setting.

3.2.3. Examples of practices

3.3 Cross-institutional network

  • To establish a cross-institutional Accessibility Service Committee and a periodic review system to exchange resources and good practices of inclusion accessibility services.
  • To share amongst universities the statistics of staff and students with disabilities and the provision and usage of the accessibility services to build up disability and inclusion awareness, to foster mutual understanding about the current situation, and to facilitate future planning of accessibility and inclusion policies.
  • To collaborate and share resources amongst universities on various initiatives – e.g. disability- and/or accessibility-related research, training workshops, accessible electronic materials (such as screen reader-accessible books and journals) and assistive aids purchase or booking.
  • To encourage both formal (e.g., campus events, meetings, sharing sessions) and informal (e.g., emails and social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook) interactions and knowledge exchange among staff of different institutions regarding accessibility service provision to foster quality service and co-create inclusive culture.
  • To manage a centralized database of accessible electronic materials (e.g. screen reader-accessible and Braille versions) among the universities for students and staff with disabilities of participating universities who need them to borrow. It may save time and effort it takes for format conversion.