Erasmus Student Network initiative promotes equal accessibility of student exchange programs
Published: 29 April 2014
A new project is helping people with disabilities study in other countries.
Students with disabilities should have the same rights and chances to study
The project will make a map to tell students with disabilities
Like this students with disabilities will be prepared for their trip.
To help make the map, people should fill in the two surveys at this link.
The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) has launched a campaign aiming to make the Erasmus programme more accessible to people with disabilities.
While studying abroad for a period of time is challenging for most young people, as they are dealing with an unfamiliar environment and a new language and culture, it can be more even more difficult for students with disabilities, who may face inaccessible environments or disability-related stereotypes.
The ExchangeAbility project was created in order to tackle issues students with disabilities are facing when going on exchange. As study mobility data shows a very low participation rate of students with disabilities, ESN believes it is necessary to take affirmative measures to stimulate presence and raise awareness.
One of these initiatives is MapAbility, which assesses how accessible European Higher Education Institutions’ (HEIs) are for students with disabilities and special needs. The goal is to develop an online map which will offer information on the services, buildings and accessibility of the universities involved in the programme. The web-based tool is meant to encourage students with disabilities to go on Erasmus by helping them feel prepared for the experience.
The information required for the design of the map is being collected with the help of a questionnaire. Divided in two parts, Buildings and Services, the questionnaire comes together with an Explanatory Document, clarifying questions and terminology. The questionnaire will be also disseminated by HEIs and ESN volunteers in all the member countries.
MapAbility is supported by the Council of Europe through the European Youth Foundation and has taken off in October 2013. As part of the ExchangeAbility strategy, it is also aimed at promoting traveling and studying abroad for students with disabilities.