Living with a disability may limit access to many things in everyday life, but it shouldn’t equate to substandard learning or no education at all, especially in IT. There are many courses to choose from such as Systems Development Courses that promise a successful and lucrative career for everyone, whether living with a disability or not. Section 29 of the South African Constitution states that everyone has the right to education which includes Students with Disabilities (SwDs). In addition, SwDs have other rights that include the choice to disclose their disabilities and to enrol for educational courses on the same basis as their able-bodied peers.
SwDs with a desire to study Systems Development Courses or to pursue a career in IT should be free to follow their dreams without hesitation or fear. They should do this knowing that they are under no legal obligation to disclose their disabilities to anyone unless they feel it’s important to do so. This disclosure may be required due to practical reasons such as requesting special accommodation to meet their needs. Those students who choose to disclose their disability status must also be ready and willing to provide necessary supporting documents should they be requested to do so. The request for supporting documents should not be seen as an invasion of privacy, but possibly a need to approving certain modifications in order to accommodate a student’s needs.
While some higher learning institutions may be able to ensure that specific support needs of students with disabilities are met, to allow them to equally participate alongside their peers, others may not be able to. This shouldn’t be a deterrent for SwDs to pursue a qualification they desire to enrol for. There are higher learning institutions with online or hybrid educational models that offer Systems Development Courses and other IT qualifications where more students with various disabilities can be fairly accommodated. One of these institutions is Belgium Campus iTversity. A private higher education institution that provides a Diploma in IT for Deaf students. Belgium Campus iTversity prides itself as an institution that provides equal opportunities to students living with disabilities and students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
There is still a long way to go for SwDs to be fully accommodated by all higher learning institutions, but they can still access good quality education, especially at institutions such as Belgium Campus iTversity. IT qualifications are available through many public and private (accredited and registered) higher learning IT institutions in South Africa which are accessible by everyone including SwDs. Although everyday life has many limits to what people with disabilities can do, IT has unlimited opportunities to what they can achieve – from a qualification in Systems Development Courses to becoming IT professionals and even giants in the industry.