Round table about the national standards of accessibility of higher education for students with disabilities was held on 30th of November 2012 at the Faculty of Forestry of the University of Zagreb (within the Final conference).

The subject of the round table was a national document proposal entitled “Ensuring minimum standards of accessibility of higher education for students with disabilities in the Republic of Croatia”.

The document was drafted by a Working Group made up of members of the teaching and professional staff of the universities of Rijeka, Zadar and Zagreb, a member of the professional staff of the Institute for the Development of Education, and students with disabilities, in consultation with representatives from the Office of the Ombudsperson for Students with Disabilities and the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports. The purpose of this document is to contribute to the development of accessibility of higher education to students with disabilities in the Republic of Croatia by defining uniform accessibility standards and by providing guidelines for ensuring equal opportunities in the higher education system in the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia. The document aims to highlight the difficulties faced daily by students with disabilities in Croatia, and to define concrete guidelines, the responsible parties and the necessary resources for the taking of particular measures in practice.

At the beginning of the round table the coordinator of the Working Group, Mr Thomas Farnell from the Institute for the Development of Education, presented the document content as well as the need for its creation, the purpose, basic principles, target groups and expected outcomes. Also, the part of the document named “Minimum standards of accessibility of higher education for students with disabilities in the Republic of Croatia” was also presented. This part indicates the minimum standards of accessibility under the following topics: Legal, Strategic and Financial Framework; Admission to Institutions of Higher Education; Teaching and Learning Outcomes; Support Services for Students with Disabilities; Physical Accessibility and Living Conditions; Funding and other Students Rights; and Data Collection.

After the presentation the public discussion about the national document proposal was held.
For the purpose of a more efficient and higher quality of public discussion all of the participants received the document via mail before the round table.  At the round table participants gave very positive comments on the presented document. All participants agreed that this document is more than necessary because it includes key issues, minimum standards and recommendations in one place and is very important basis for the adoption and implementation of future measures and strategies of all institutions in charge. Several participants gave suggestions and comments about other support services for students with disabilities that provide their institutions what can also be included within the part of the document which refers to the view of the current situation in higher education.

According to the conclusions of the round table, some parts of the document have been amended. The final version of the national document proposal can be downloaded via the links appearing below:

The national document proposal (in Croatian)

The national document proposal (in English)

 

The Round table was attended by 100 participants, including representatives from various institutions and organizations (Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, state Agency for Science and Higher Education, state Agency for Mobility and EU programs, National Centre for External Evaluation of Education, City of Zagreb), Croatian universities and other higher education institutions, European universities (University of Gothenburg, Masaryk University, Aarhus University, University of Strathclyde, University of Jyväskyla and University of Sarajevo), the Student Centre in Zagreb, Institute of Public Health, centre for the education of young people with disabilities, associations for people and students with disabilities), teachers, professional and administrative university staff, students with and without disabilities and media representatives.