SYL supports higher education for disabled students in Ethiopia

SYL is launching a four-year development cooperation project in Ethiopia in cooperation with Kynnys ry and the ECDD (The Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development), with project funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to support the implementation of inclusive education for disabled students at three public universities in Ethiopia so that disabled students can be offered accessible tuition.

In Ethiopia, 17.6 per cent of the population has some kind of disability. Despite the policy of inclusive education promoted by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education, disabled children, young people and adults are still underrepresented in primary schools, secondary schools and higher education. An increasing number of students with disabilities are accepted into public and other universities in Ethiopia, but the institutions are not able to offer them the support they need. Often there are no audio recordings of documents, sign language interpreters or accessible classrooms available despite a commitment to supporting disabled students.

The project will support the academic and social inclusion of students with disabilities in the project universities by creating or strengthening disability services at the universities. We aim to reduce inequality between the sexes by making sure that both men and women take part in education and we also offer special training for female students.

The ECDD has previously carried out similar projects in cooperation with Kynnys ry at other Ethiopian universities. One particular merit of the projects is that after they ended, the universities that took part have continued to offer services and buy equipment on their own initiative. A new addition to this project is that we will also aim to include disabled students more in the activities of the student associations. SYL’s expertise in the student organisation field will also be put to good use here. On the other hand, the project will also give SYL an opportunity to learn how disabled higher education students in Finland could be acknowledged more.


Salla Mäkelä

SYL’s Development Policy Adviser

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