Edu4all Disability as Diversity

Disability as Diversity :The Inclusion of Students
with Disabilities in Higher Education

Opening Inclusive Education Unit at the University of Jordan

A group of those who attended the conference

Date: May 15th 2023

Place: The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan

The University of Jordan hosted an opening conference honored by His Excellency, Prof. Nathir Obeidat, the President of the University of Jordan. His Excellency announced the inauguration of the Inclusive Education Unit, which is funded by the Erasmus+ program through the Edu4ALL project. The unit is located on the ground floor of the university library to ensure easy accessibility for students with disabilities. The opening ceremony began with a speech by Dr. Mujahed Thneibat, the Director of the University Library. Dr Thneibat highlighted the role of the library in providing access to academic resources and creating a conducive environment for studying. He also stressed the importance of inclusive learning and expressed gratitude to the European Union (EU), represented by the Erasmus+ program, and the Edu4ALL team at the University of Jordan.

Dr. Ismail Altaharwa, the Edu4ALL project coordinator at the University of Jordan, provided a brief overview of the project. Dr. Altaharwa emphasized how the inclusive education unit, equipped with assistive technology, can greatly benefit students with disabilities and contribute to the overall university community. He invited attendees to watch a documentary video summarizing the accomplishments of the Edu4ALL project.

Prof. Ahmad Abu El-Haija, the Director of the National Erasmus+ Office in Jordan, delivered a short speech. Dr. Abu El-Haija congratulated the successful establishment of the unit at the University of Jordan and provided an overview of Erasmus+ priorities for the period from 2022 to 2027. He explained how the EU focuses on providing better opportunities for students with disabilities in their programs. Dr. Abu El-Haija also highlighted the potential benefits of the inclusive education unit in enabling students with disabilities from the University of Jordan and other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Jordan to participate in student mobility programs sponsored by the EU.

His Excellency, Prof. Nathir Obeidat, the President of the University of Jordan described the University’s efforts to engage students with disabilities in higher education programs. He emphasized that providing equal opportunities to all students is an obligation. Prof. Obeidat expressed sincere thanks to the EU, represented by the National Erasmus Office in Jordan, as well as to the administration of the university library for their facilities and services provided to students and the university community. Prof. Obeidat and the audience then moved to open the Inclusive Education Unit.

Dr. Altaharwa provided a detailed description of each assistive technology tool displayed in the unit, while students with disabilities had the opportunity to practice using the tools individually. After the opening session concluded Dr. Altaharwa invited the unit committee, attendees, and students with disabilities to proceed to the conference room for a brainstorming session.

The session began with a presentation by Prof. Alia Alghwiri, a member of the Edu4ALL team at UJ, who summarized the results obtained from a questionnaire conducted in 2021 at the start of the project. Over 20 students with disabilities attended the session and agreed with the study findings. Dr. Nazeeh Ghatasheh, another member of the Edu4ALL team at UJ, discussed digital accessibility and how it complements assistive technology in achieving universal design.

At the end of the day, Dr. Mujahed Thneibat invited the attendees to join a dinner at the university restaurants.