Inclusive education has become a bit of a buzzword, yet to fully realize true “inclusive education” for students with disabilities, and in fact all students from marginalized groups, “a process of structural change throughout the education system” must be employed according to Richard Rieser in Teaching and Learning in Diverse and Inclusive Classrooms: Key Issues for New Teachers. This structural change to the education system is necessary because much of education was designed by and for elites. One way to achieve this change is through the use of information and communication technologies (ITCs) to disrupt the existing structure of education systems around the world.
Take for example the experience of a university student in Brunei who has been able to become a very high achiever while overcoming many challenges due to his blindness. Some challenges, unfortunately, continue to plague this particular student according to a paper published in the Asian Journal of University Education. Some persistent challenges include the physical structure of the university itself. The article documents the experience of this high performing blind student, and notes that the university he attends has many open potholes and drains that make navigation difficult. It is also difficult for this blind student to locate unfamiliar buildings and lecture halls on campus, and this student requires his family’s help driving to and from campus.
These issues centered around mobility and the physical space of the campus could be solved with ITCs. This student’s university in Brunei already formed a specialized committee made up of the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economic Policy, the Head of Department, the university’s Student Affairs Officer, a Disability Officer, a librarian, instructional technology personnel and all the lecturers involved in teaching the student. This committee could easily be given an expanded mandate to craft all-online courses that would allow for students with disabilities to eliminate the need to navigate a less than disability friendly campus. Lecturers are already engaged in crafting specialized content, along with adapting lessons to the needs of this particular blind student. This existing and remarkable work done by the committee could be used as the foundation for a structural shift as Rieser recommends by way of ITCs.