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Best Practice Standards 3.3

Part 3 - BEST PRACTICE STANDARDS FOR CREATING A FULLY INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT

3.3 Recruitment, Selection, Admission and Enrolment

a) RECRUITMENT

Vision
Publicity, programme details, general information and other recruitment initiatives are accessible to students with impairments and describe opportunities for them to participate.

Best Practice Standards

  1. General and specific student recruitment initiatives are developed that:
    1. Make explicit reference to opportunities for students with impairments.
    2. Assist prospective students with impairments to make appropriate educational decisions by providing information prior to starting on:
      • The range of pathways into and within tertiary education.
      • The general and specialist support systems available.
      • Special entry and/or consideration procedures to admit people with impairments.
      • Professional/vocational course requirements.
  2. Promotional material is disseminated in alternative formats to a wide range of relevant community networks that people with impairments access.
  3. Enquiries from people with impairments are responded to promptly and accurately.
  4. Prospective students with impairments are encouraged and assisted to identify their specific support requirements, ideally prior to application for admission.
  5. Strategies for increasing the awareness of tertiary education possibilities among people with impairments in the local and wider community are developed and implemented.

Understanding these Best Practice Standards

  • Ideally all recruitment and marketing information should be available in accessible formats, include a section on disability support services and have pictorial representations of students with impairments along with other students.
  • Information should include a clear and accurate statement about physical access; general, specialist, and technical support options; and designated contacts.
  • Increasing awareness of tertiary education for people with impairments may include:
    • Initiatives targeting senior students in secondary schools, a 'Vacation School' for those who are considering tertiary study, and bridging programmes to assist students to make the transition into tertiary study.
    • A 'resource and planning guide' and videotape for people considering tertiary study.
    • Information brochures that target prospective students of mature and school age, parents and community organisations.
    • Specific recruitment programmes tailored to Māori, Pacific Island and other ethnic communities.
  • For access to community networks contact the campus disability support staff, the local Disability Information Service, DPA (Disabled Persons Assembly) or visit the WEKA website.
  • Ask all students in advance whether they have specific requirements so staff can make adequate preparations for any support.

b) SELECTION AND ADMISSION

Vision
Selection and admission policies and procedures are fair, transparent and assess students on their competencies and not on their impairments.

Best Practice Standards

  1. Course advisors take into account the particular needs of students with impairments in their subject selection and have appropriate training to fulfil this task.
  2. Staff involved with selection and admission:
    1. Ensure selection and admission policies and procedures are relevant to course/professional requirements, and do not unjustifiably disadvantage or exclude applicants with impairments.
    2. Provide appropriate support to applicants with impairments in selection activities.
    3. Use sources of expertise to assess an applicant's support needs, so staff and students make well-informed decisions based on the support that can be provided.
    4. Develop agreements with the student and their support networks to specify the support arrangements to be provided, including examinations and assessment.
    5. Receive effective guidance and training to prevent disability discrimination.
    6. Are able to clearly justify refusing entry to a course on the grounds of impairments.
  3. Handbooks and other advisory material are available in accessible formats.
  4. Course selection criteria are reviewed to make sure they are suitable, applied appropriately, and do not discriminate against applicants with impairments.
  5. Appeal processes for students rejected on the grounds of impairments are available and widely publicised.


Understanding these Best Practice Standards

  • Concentrate on the person's ability - not their impairment. Ask all students what support they require and only ask about impairment if it is relevant.
  • Appropriate support in selection activities such as interviews can include creating a safe environment to disclose an impairment, providing information in accessible formats, allowing demonstration of ability using alternative ways to meet selection requirements, and notifying students about this prior to selection activities.
  • Be able to justify any decision related to selection and admission.
  • Admission arrangements should not 'disadvantage' students with impairments as in the following examples:
    • Applicants must fill out an application form by hand and cannot type or use a support person.
    • An applicant with a speech impairment is refused extra time at an interview.
    • A student with epilepsy cannot enrol unless she/he has an assistant at all times, when seizures only occur at night.
    • Reviewing applications from students with impairments after other applicants have been selected.
    • Insisting on medical checks for people with impairments, and not for others, without justification.
  • There may be exceptions. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair applies to do a plumbing course. It could be made accessible, but the adjustments would not be possible in the workplace. The vocational nature of the course means it would not be appropriate to make adjustments that are not replicable in the workplace.
  • Consideration needs to be given to the possibility that a student with impairment is taking a vocational course to lead to a future in design or policy, rather than direct practice. For example a woman is refused entry to an Engineering degree on the grounds she would not be able to be an engineer because of her impairment. This is despite the degree not being directly vocational and that not all graduates become engineers.
  • Appeal processes should:
    • Examine the grounds for refusing entry to a course,
    • Investigate support strategies that may allow entry and completion of industry requirements,
    • Seek expert impairment advice,
    • Adhere to relevant legislation,
    • Follow confidentiality protocols.

 

c) ENROLMENT PROCESSES

Vision
Enrolment, registration and induction processes accommodate the needs of all students with impairments.

Best Practice Standards

  1. Enrolment, registration and induction processes take into account the physical, communication and information access requirements of students with impairments.
  2. Information about impairments is collected for relevant purposes only, the purpose of collection is clearly stated, measures to ensure confidentiality are followed, and the information collected does not appear on academic records and graduation documentation.
  3. Students with impairments are advised of services available to assist them.
  4. The support needs of students with impairments are identified during the enrolment and induction process, reconsidered if necessary, and the support confirmed with the student when in place.


Understanding these Best Practice Standards

  • Physical, communication and information access can include: ramps, lifts, accessible toilets, information in alternative formats, being able to bring whanau and advocates to interviews, providing sign language interpreters and other support staff, 'orientation and mobility training' for those with vision impairments, and providing information about enrolment and induction in a variety of media such as e-mail, fax and telephone.
  • The Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind recommends the use of internationally recognised standards for providing accessible information and websites (e.g. the World Wide Web Consortium).
  • Ideally students with impairments should be able to complete enrolment and other relevant forms with the same levels of independence and confidentiality as other students. Specific support staff may be required.
  • Under the Human Rights Act it may be unlawful to record impairment information on academic records and graduation documentation.
  • Orientation activities may include introducing disability and other support staff, workshops on topics such as note taking, assignment writing, introduction to computers, and peer tutoring for specified subjects.
  • Do not exclude students on the grounds of impairment, without justification.
    • For example, a student admits himself to hospital during the holidays because of an ongoing mental illness. Staff hear about this and the tertiary institution excludes the student because staff fear he may be dangerous. The tertiary institution has no evidence to suggest this.