DISABILITY POLICY

PREAMBLE

St John Vianney Seminary NPC (hereafter known as “the Seminary”) fully endorses the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with disabilities signed into South African law in June 2007. The Seminary consequently recognises and is committed to provide academic and other necessary support and guidance for adjustment to Seminary life for students with disabilities. Support would include identifying the particular needs of students and assisting them with the necessary requirements. Students will be assisted by administration with application for extra time for tests, exams and with academic learning material.

 

1. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is:

i) To highlight the role of the Seminary in regard to disability.

ii) To specify the rights of staff, students and visitors.

iii) To identify and define concepts in relation to disability.

 

2. DEFINITIONS

2.1 Disability, according to the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2007), results when persons with impairments interact with barriers of attitude and environment. Persons with disabilities are recognised as those persons who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may obstruct their full and effective involvement in the community on an equal basis with others.

2.2 Discrimination on the basis of disability means imposing any distinction, exclusion or restriction of persons on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others, an all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil, or any other field. It comprises all forms of unfair discrimination, directly or indirectly, including denial of reasonable accommodation.

2.3 Universal design refers to the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design.

2.4 Staff member means an employee of the Seminary and includes an applicant / candidate for employment at the Seminary.

2.5 Student refers to a registered student of the Seminary and includes an applicant / candidate for study at the Seminary.

2.6 A visitor is any member of the public who is present on Seminary property and who is not a staff member or a student. This includes persons who have contractual relationships with the Seminary, as well as, persons who are legitimately commercially active or employed within the Seminary environment.

 

3 REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION

3.1 The Seminary recognises the right of staff and students with disabilities to have access to accommodation that is reasonable, and that will facilitate their full and equal participation in the activities and facilities of the Seminary.

3.2 The Seminary will seek medical confirmation of any impairment where a request for the provision of accommodation requires this. In such cases supporting documentation will be provided to the President of the Seminary from a registered medical doctor in the case of physical and sensory impairments, and from a clinical or educational psychologist or psychiatrist in the case of cognitive and psychological impairments. In the case of scarce facilities and resources the President of the Seminary will have the right to request a second opinion regarding the need for accommodation.

3.3 Where accommodation provision is made with regard to temporary disabilities this will be done for the calendar year and will be reviewed annually by the President of the Seminary. He will require current documentation in order to assess the continued necessity of this provision.

 

4. DISCLOSURE OF DISABILITY, RECORD KEEPING AND DATA MANAGEMENT

The Seminary is committed to creating a beneficial institutional climate for the safe, protective disclosure of any disability. Disclosure of disability is necessary where a student, staff member or visitor requests support and / or provision for accommodation. Disclosure will be made to the President of the Seminary. Persons who are tasked with facilitating or providing specific accommodations to an individual with impairment will receive information about the impairment to the extent that this information is necessary to facilitate the accommodation.

Disclosed information will be treated as confidential and private. It will be used to monitor progress in employment and student equity in order to comply with the reporting requirements of the Employment Equity Act, for strategic planning and to maximise levels of service provision.

 

5. ACCESS TO THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT

5.1 The Seminary faces particular challenges in providing access to the built environment for people with disabilities. These include free movement in the new buildings due to the structure and design of the building on three levels.

5.2 The Seminary will identify, and where possible, address barriers to facilities and services at the Seminary. In order to do this, the Seminary will budget each year with regard to access solutions. Improved access to students and staff with disabilities will be formally included as a performance goal of the relevant members of the Seminary.

5.3 The Seminary supports and sanctions the principle of Universal Design as a feature of all new infrastructure development, and will formulate and implement standards and guidelines which ensure that Universal Design Principles are applied in the design and construction and / or maintenance of all buildings, thoroughfares, facilities, security systems, information technology and all other infrastructures for which the Seminary is responsible.

 

6. INTERVENTIONS

6.1 Ensuring that venues are accessible to persons with mobility impairment.

6.2 Arranging that test and exams are written at assigned venues.

6.3 Liaising with lecturers, tutors, administrators, and staff at the library, residences and other departments and fellow students to foster an understanding of the challenges faced by students with disabilities.

6.4 Monitoring the physical environment and new developments to ensure safety and accessibility to the campus community and visitors.

6.5 The Seminary works to remove any physical, policy, information and attitude barriers that might prevent students and staff from fulfilling their potential

6.6 It promotes the policy of equal opportunities adopted by the Seminary.

6.7 It assists the Seminary to deal correctly and appropriately with disabled students, staff, prospective students, visiting academics and other visitors.

 

7. SERVICES

The Seminary supports equal academic access for disabled students in the following ways:

7.1 Support and advice on any issues related to disability.

7.2 Consultative and counselling support for students and staff with disabilities (e.g., speech impediment).

7.3 Advice on academic adjustments and reasonable accommodations and provision of specific services.

7.4 Physical Access: make available a wheelchair guide map of the campus.

7.5 Provide technical assistance.

7.6 Parking bays for disabled students and staff.

7.7 Allow extra time and other exam accommodations for disabled students