Tertiary Education Assistance
In Australia every education provider is required by law to consider the needs of enrolling and current students with disability. TAFE’s and University’s have a student service department with staff who can assist with access and inclusion needs. These staff are sometimes called Disability Liaison Officers or Equity Officers.
It is important that you contact student services before the course starts if you believe you may require reasonable adjustments while you study. This will allow the time needed to implement the adjustments you require before starting the course.
What you share with student services is confidential unless you give permission for the information to be shared with teachers / lecturers.
When planning on attending tertiary education students may need to negotiate reasonable adjustments due to disability with academic and general staff. The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) Disability Standards for Education 2005 requires education providers to take reasonable steps to assist students with a disability to participate in education on the same basis as a student without a disability.
Education providers have three main obligations.
- Obligation to consult
- Obligation to make reasonable adjustments
- Obligation to eliminate harassment and victimisation
What are reasonable adjustments?
An adjustment is reasonable if it:
- supports a student with disability to participate in education on the same basis as other students
- takes into account the student’s learning needs
- balances the interests, including safety, of all parties, such as the student with disability, staff members and other students.
In deciding whether an adjustment for a student with disability is reasonable, all relevant circumstances and information should be taken into account, including the:
- impact of the disability on the student’s learning, participation and independence
- views of the student with disability, or their associate, about their preferred adjustment
- impact of the adjustment on relevant parties, such as other students, staff members, the student’s family and the education provider
- costs and benefits of making the adjustment
- need to maintain the essential requirements of the course or program.
Reasonable adjustments should be made as soon as possible, to maximise the benefits for the student.