Equity of access and opportunity is an important part of the vision for our tertiary education system, outlined in the Tertiary Education Strategy 2002/07. The Strategy sets an objective for people with impairments to be achieving skills and qualifications in greater numbers. The Disability Strategy 2001 establishes a similar vision: to improve post-compulsory education options for people with impairments.
When the government released the Tertiary Education Strategy 2002/07 it was envisaged that providers, communities and government agencies would work together to create the vision that the Strategy outlined.
I'm delighted that the tertiary sector group ACHIEVE has initiated and developed a Code of Practice to address issues for people with impairments. Congratulations to ACHIEVE for their work on Achieving Equity: New Zealand Code of Practice for an Inclusive Tertiary Environment for Students with Impairments. ACHIEVE's knowledge, experience and understanding of issues for people with impairments undertaking tertiary study, is reflected in this document. I note also that the Code has been subject to wide consultation throughout New Zealand and that the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission were involved in its development.
The benefits of tertiary education need to be available to people with impairments. Tertiary education enhances peoples' lives by contributing to their general knowledge and understanding, increasing their incomes and standard of living and widening their experiences and interests.
This Code of Practice is a significant new resource. Providers will undoubtedly find it useful in working towards equity of access and opportunity for their students with impairments. It will help in developing further the kinds of tertiary environments that enable people with impairments to achieve to their full potential.
My colleague Hon Ruth Dyson and I commend the Code of Practice to you and hope that tertiary providers will take it up as you assist people with impairments to participate successfully in tertiary education.
Hon Steve Maharey, Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)
Hon Ruth Dyson, Minister for Disability Issues
People with impairments have a right to education and to realise their potential.
Tertiary education enhances our lives and our society. A fully inclusive tertiary education system is one that recognises and values diversity and enables wide ranging participation by offering flexible learning pathways to the more than twenty percent of New Zealanders who have an impairment.
There has been a broad movement of change in tertiary education towards social inclusion as tertiary education providers recognise that diversity is fundamental to their successful functioning, and as they seek to reflect and shape community aspirations by ensuring social justice and equity for all members of society.
In the New Zealand Disability Strategy released in 2001, the Government adopted a vision of a more inclusive society for people with impairments. Through implementing the Strategy, barriers to people with impairments participating and contributing fully to society will be removed.
The Government recognises that New Zealand's economic growth and improved social outcomes depend on equal access and equal opportunities for all learners. Despite this, statistics show that people with impairments are one of the most educationally disadvantaged groups within New Zealand. It is important, therefore, that barriers to their academic achievement and participation are identified and removed.
The trend towards social inclusion and the introduction of the Special Supplementary Grant: Tertiary Students with Disabilities has seen an increase in both awareness of disability issues and the numbers of students with impairments within tertiary education. Some institutions have become more proactive in developing inclusive teaching practices, enhancing support services and improving their policies relating to students with impairments. However, the results of the 2002 'Code of Practice Consultation Survey' indicate that while progress has been made, there are still a number of barriers that people with impairments confront on a daily basis in tertiary education.
The Code of Practice is designed to assist tertiary education providers to achieve a fully inclusive environment through the ongoing identification and removal of barriers in all areas of campus life. It is a tool to assist all staff within an institution in meeting their responsibilities, and is not just for those working in Disability Support Services.
For information to assist with implementation, visit the ACHIEVE website.
A mooring place for the canoe is a symbol for reliability. The canoe is an image for all the people on the journey.
Ngā Pēpeha a Ngā Tūpuna VUW Press 2001
ACHIEVE, The National Post-Secondary Education Disability Network Incorporated, is a national network established to ensure equal opportunity and access to post-secondary education and training for people with impairments. ACHIEVE advocates and lobbies for people with a range of impairments who are transitioning into or studying in post-secondary education. It also provides members with information and opportunities to network.
The Code of Practice was produced with the generous assistance of many people throughout New Zealand. While ACHIEVE was instrumental in initiating and driving this project, the Code of Practice could not have been written without the support of these people.
We particularly wish to thank the Code of Practice Steering Committee, the ACHIEVE Executive Committee and Victoria Manning, the first coordinator for the project. We are grateful for their feedback and guidance offered throughout its development.
We also acknowledge the Codes of Practice from Australia and the United Kingdom that have provided both inspiration and a basis for this work.
During 2002 a survey was completed to provide a guide for the development of this code. Regional Forums were also held in the first half of 2003 to discuss and gain feedback about the 'Draft Code of Practice'. People also had the opportunity to provide individual feedback and submissions.
We wish to thank the various people and organisations who offered feedback, distributed surveys, supported the hosting of Regional Forums, and gave financial and administrative support. This includes various tertiary education providers and the Ministry of Education. The Code of Practice could not have been produced without this generous assistance.
Ava Gibson, Chairperson, Code of Practice Steering Committee
Grant Cleland, Project Coordinator, Code of Practice
Central to the Treaty partnership and the implementation of Treaty principles is a common understanding that any strategies for Māori associated with the Code of Practice should be developed and implemented in partnership with Māori. This should also occur in good faith with mutual respect, co-operation and trust.
The 2001 New Zealand Disability Survey shows that twenty percent of Māori had an impairment of some kind. The Steering Committee overseeing the development of the Code of Practice acknowledges the importance of involving Māori in consultation processes and are aware of the potential shortcomings of the brief consultation process necessary for the development of the Code of Practice.
We view the Code of Practice as an evolving document with ongoing development and implementation processes, which will need to occur in partnership with Māori. This includes tertiary education providers consulting with Māori as they use the Code of Practice to create an inclusive environment for all people with impairments.
To assist tertiary education providers create a fully inclusive tertiary education environment for students with impairments within New Zealand.
The Code of Practice aims to:
Various definitions of disability exist. The definition used in The New Zealand Disability Strategy is different from that used by Statistics New Zealand for the 2001 Disability Survey and in the Human Rights Act, 1993.
The New Zealand Disability Strategy states that, “disability is not something individuals have. What individuals have are impairments. They may be physical, sensory, neurological, psychiatric, intellectual or other impairments.” Instead, “disability is the process which happens when one group of people create barriers by designing a world only for their way of living, taking no account of the impairments other people have”.
For the purposes of the Code of Practice we have used the New Zealand Disability Strategy definition of disability. In this document we will refer to people or students with impairments. This includes people with permanent impairments, those with impairments resulting from long or short-term injury or illness, the Deaf community and people with other impairments such as learning disability, neurological or cognitive difficulties, mental illness and other more hidden impairments.
Students with impairments are involved in the full range of tertiary courses at all levels of learning. This includes foundation courses, life skills, and vocational and academic programmes. The Code of Practice is intended to have an impact on the participation and achievement of students with impairments at all of these levels of learning and at all types of tertiary providers, including universities, polytechnics, private training establishments, wananga and colleges of education.
It is imperative that students with impairments are able to access the full tertiary experience; therefore this Code of Practice also applies to the wider aspects of tertiary life, such as the social, cultural and recreational areas.
It should also be noted that the implementation of many of the Best Practice Standards would also have a positive impact on staff, particularly those staff that have or develop impairments.
New Zealand needs to develop the skills and abilities of its entire population, including people with impairments. Students with impairments are as valuable as all other students and have the ability to contribute to the community through education.
The Code of Practice can assist tertiary education providers to:
The next section is divided into a number of topic areas covering different aspects of an inclusive environment. It is important that all topic areas are given attention.
Under each topic area there is:
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This section provides an overview of the status of people with impairments in tertiary education, the barriers to participation and achievement that many face, and the policy and legal framework for using the Code of Practice.
For consistency of language throughout this document, we continue to use 'people or students with impairments'. The documents referred to in this section use a mixture of 'people with disabilities' and 'disabled people'.
Access - Ability to join and participate in all facets of life in tertiary education institutions or organisations (e.g. access to: buildings, programmes and facilities; courses; educational materials and other relevant social/cultural information; ceremonial events; communication access).
Accommodations - Adaptations that remove barriers to enable equal participation. These are based on the premise that students with impairments should be neither disadvantaged nor advantaged relative to other students. Students can be treated differently if it is achieving equity.
Assistive Technology - Equipment or software designed or modified to enable people with impairments to meet their information, communication and mobility needs.
Barriers - Social and environmental processes preventing or disadvantaging access, participation and achievement of students with impairments in tertiary education.
Best Practice Standards - Steps that a tertiary education institution or organisation can take to create a fully inclusive tertiary education environment for people with impairments. These may be enhanced through quality reviews.
Codes of Practice - A guide for tertiary education providers detailing what is expected of their inclusion of students with impairments. Similar codes are found at the following websites:
Equitable Learning Environment - Reasonable accommodations have been made to enable students with impairments to participate in a course and compete on equal terms with other students.
Equity - Principles that ensure fairness to people with impairments in providing the opportunity for them to participate in and successfully complete studies in tertiary education.
Flexible Delivery - Adoption of a range of teaching strategies in a variety of learning environments to cater for differences in learning styles, learning interests and needs, and variations in learning opportunities.
Inclusive Educational and Learning Environment - One in which diversity among students is valued and procedures are implemented to facilitate equitable access, participation and outcomes for all students.
Staff - Everyone employed by the tertiary institution or organisation, including teaching staff consisting of lecturers, tutors, teachers, instructors, workplace trainers, assessors and mentors.
Student - A person who is enrolled by a tertiary institution or organisation to participate in any educational activity.
Tertiary Education Provider - A tertiary education provider means all or any of the following, but does not include an industry training organisation:
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