The Universal Access Program, which is a great project at King Saud University, seeks to create a supportive environment for persons with disabilities by adhering to international standards to overcome any architectural, technical, or educational constraints to ensure participation and support the transition towards inclusiveness.
Universal access endeavors to localize applications and adaptations in line with Supreme Decree No. 35363 and 22/9/1434 A.H. to offer universal access in the Kingdom, in addition to providing teaching staff with sufficient expertise to train and qualify persons with disabilities for education and learning within an independent environment.
Practically, the Universal Access Program has produced five pilot guides in the field of educational, technical and engineering services for individuals with disabilities, as well as partnering with a number of internal and external authorities to disseminate the concept of universal access.
Message and Governing Values
The success of the strategic plan of King Saud University, which operates the universal access program under its jurisdiction, requires the identification of a set of governing values to work at the university. There is a need to find ways that reinforce those values in order to transform them from mere slogans into concrete and influential actions as well as a solid basis for the university at all levels.
The most important values that represent the basic logic of the project’s team behavior have been identified. It includes:
- Justice in Learning Opportunities: The University attaches importance in achieving justice in learning opportunities and making it a right for all.
- Excellence: By achieving the highest quality.
- Collective action: King Saud University, among others, believes in a universal access program that concerted efforts between all parties to achieve added value that cannot be achieved by one party alone. This can be effected through the activation of specialized committees’ roles.
Engineering design and universal access
King Saud University in Riyadh sought to apply the principles of universal access to the University since 2010 due to the spread of its principles. Through it, many global assessment rates of education were linked, such as: academic evaluation of colleges by applying universal access mechanisms in the university buildings which contributes to educational development, and the university’s ability to accept students with disabilities to engage in the educational environment and benefit from their abilities to develop their communities.
The University began to orient the Faculty of Education because it contains a large proportion of students with disabilities (motor and visual problems). The experience has been successful and praised by many bodies seeking to apply the experience to the rest of the university faculties.
The University puts effort, through the Universal Access Program, to establish collaborative partnerships with several American and Canadian universities applying their universal access requirements to match them with campus buildings.
Technical preparation for persons with disabilities
King Saud University, by adopting Universal Access Program, attaches particular importance to the use of techniques in the educational process, which are increasingly needed for persons with disabilities. Due the emergence of supportive techniques dedicated to the needs of this group, persons with disabilities can benefit from their skills.
Techniques used for persons with disabilities, such as accessibility devices, and programs, are an important aspect of rehabilitating the educational environment for persons with disabilities as well as creating an electronic environment to interact with those devices and programs. This initiative will facilitate access for persons with special needs to the University’s e-services.
Suitable educational services
The University’s endeavors through the Universal Access Programme, to increase the number of students admitted from different disability groups who meet admission requirements; it is also seeking to expand the programs and disciplines in which they are accepted in order to reach the stage where all university programs and specializations will be accessible. Students with disabilities have demanded engagement in different disciplines and that their admission will not be limited to particular disciplines as long as it comply with the admission requirements, and as long as the university provides them with means to attain success.
The University exerts efforts, through the Universal Access Program, to create an environment that offers outstanding education to students with disabilities in line with the reputation of King Saud University, being one of the leading universities in the field of educational development and high quality, reliable, long-standing and ambitious programs.