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Students living with a disability are falling behind at university due to lack of accessible, flexible study options

This ABC news story explores the experience of a student with disability who say's it isn't always possible to attend classes due to a lack of accessibility. 

Under Australian law, people with disabilities have the right to the same educational opportunities as everyone else.

But University of Central Queensland chancellor Graeme Innes - who is also a former disability discrimination commissioner - said there was more the Australian education system could do to meet those requirements.

"[It] doesn't mean that universities aren't making efforts to make the sector accessible, they certainly are, but I think they could go further," Mr Innes said.

"I think one of the key things for getting it right is listening to the voice of people with disabilities."

Mr Innes said flexible learning - like the option to attend classes online - benefited all students, not just those with a disability.

"What we want to do in a learning environment is make it as effective as possible for the person learning," he said.

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said universities took their responsibility under the Disability Discrimination Act seriously.

"Students living with disabilities have the right to inclusive and accessible learning options that best suit them," she said.

"Universities have plans in place to cater to student needs, often working closely with accessibility teams which are trained to provide advice and support to ensure students fully participate in their chosen field of study."

(November 2023)

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