UKZN Disability Support Unit reaches out to Learners from Schools for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
The Disability Support Unit located in the Division of Student Services recently held an Information and Awareness session for Deaf and Hard of Hearing learners from schools in Newlands, Isipingo, Port Shepstone and Zululand. The event was held in collaboration with the Deaf Federation of South Africa and UKZN’s Disability Support Units.
In an effort to ensure that the learners derive maximum benefit from the session, two Sign Language Interpreters provided translation services.
The Executive Director of Student Services, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu informed the meeting that he was glad to be part of a gathering which reinforces two of the University’s Strategic Goals, namely, Goal 2: Responsible community engagement and Goal 5: To be an institution of choice for students.
Dr Chalufu highlighted the fact that as an institution UKZN had worked hard not only to widen access into University, but also to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the academic programme, thereby maximizing their opportunities for growth and development in their chosen fields and in life in general.
Quoting Mary Kay Ash, he encouraged the learners to work hard: ‘Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you.’ Quoting Colin Powel, Dr Chalufu reminded the learners that ‘A dream does not become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.’
Dr Chalufu commended the passion of staff in the Disability Support Units across the campuses and stated that through the support offered to students with disabilities, there has been an increase of students enrolling at the University. There are currently 470 students with disabilities registered for support. The meeting was further informed that 70 students with disabilities graduated in 2014.
The learners were provided with information on student funding, accommodation and academic support offered through the Disability Support Unit.
Representatives from the different organisations included educators from Fulton School for the Deaf, VN Naik School for the Deaf, St Martins School for the Deaf and Durban School for the Hearing Impaired.
Present at the session were also representatives from the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society, the Deaf Federation of South Africa and the KwaZulu-Natal Deaf Association. The meeting resolved that an Advisory Group will be established comprising of all relevant role players which would then advise and support access for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students.
- Sithembile Shabangu