Australian Catholic University Visits UB, Sharing Experiences about Disability Service

ACU students learn sign language with Deaf friends

The Australian Catholic University (ACU) delegation visited the Disability Services Sub-directorate of Brawijaya University, Thursday (30/11/2023). This group visited SLD UB after previously conducting a study excursion to UB Faculty of Law. The presence of ACU group at Brawijaya University is part of their agenda in the Colombo Plan program. The program is routinely funded by Australian government.

During the visit, ACU and SLD UB shared experiences related to disability services in higher education. Topics of discussion during the sharing of experiences ranged from academic services on campus, policies at various levels of policy making, to how each campus overcomes obstacles to the delivery of services.

Head of UB Disability Services Subdirectorate, Zubaidah Ningsih AS., Ph.D said that the support of policy makers at the campus level greatly influences the existence of disability services.

“We face many challenges with disability services, in various sectors, even on campus which can still be relatively coordinated. Support from policy makers is very important for that,” she said in her presentation in front of ACU students and professors.

The ACU representative, Professor Patrick Keyzer, who accompanied the group of ACU students, agreed with Zubaidah’s statement. According to him, this is also the case on campuses in Australia, disability services require structural encouragement in their implementation.

“Nationally we have the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) and other policies, on campuses (in Australia, read) too. “If it doesn’t come from the top and bottom at the same time, disability services cannot fully run,” said Patrick.

Chair of SLD UB, Zubaidah Ningsih AS., Ph.D., added that even though UB has become a reference for other campuses in Indonesia in terms of disability services, according to her there are still many improvements that continue to be made to maximize services.

“It’s not without gaps, we still have a lot of work to complete, both in terms of policy and practice. “One example is assistive technology, this needs to continue to be developed here,” she said.

Representatives of students with disabilities at UB Disability Services House also welcomed the presence of the group from ACU. They were very enthusiastic about the visit from Australia and discussed a lot regarding their experiences during academic activities.

Fathurrahman Rijal, UB Vocational Visual Communication Design student, told how he carried out academic activities on campus.

“I learned a lot in an inclusive environment on this campus. I used to go to special school, it was segregated. In campus, I have more friends,” he said, which was translated by Graciella Pranata, a volunteer at UB, into English so that ACU representatives could understand it.

Apart from Fathur, several students with disabilities also shared their experiences and were responded to by ACU representatives.

After lasting for around 3 hours, the forum finally had to end and continued with a friendly informational meeting between the group and students with disabilities. At this moment, the closeness was felt especially when the ACU group learned sign language with Deaf friends and chatted with other disabled students.[mahali/sitirahma/ UB PR/ Trans. Iir]