University More Accessible
In the photo: Wheelchair ramp at Collegium Civitas
As part of the call for proposals announced by the National
Centre for Research and Development (Operational Programme Knowledge Education
Development), the University of Opole will implement a project worth almost PLN
4 million: "University of Opole - university (very!) accessible". It is intended to improve the functioning of
the university facilities for persons with disabilities.
The aim of the project is to provide students of the UO with accessibility in a broad sense, which is to be achieved by, among other things, renovating the university's infrastructure, but also by increasing the competence of the university staff at all levels (academic and administrative staff) in the scope of knowledge about disabilities.
The project is led by Dr Grzegorz Haber from the Faculty of Political Science and Social Communication, who is the Rector's proxy for the disabled at the UO. The administrative support for the project - both at the preparation and implementation phases - is provided by the Office of Research and Project Management and the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, in particular the Service for Students with Disabilities. However, the whole academic community will be involved in the implementation of individual elements of the project.
More knowledge and competence, or Disability Management Policy
The project will be implemented on an institutional level, which means that there will be internal organisational procedures for the functioning of persons with disabilities at the UO developed. Therefore, on the basis of consultations with external and internal experts, the Disability Management Policy of the University of Opole will be developed and materials and guidelines for employees in this area will be prepared.
Moreover, the Psychological and Therapeutic Support Centre will be established. The Centre will employ people offering multidimensional assistance to people with disabilities in matters of their current functioning, undertaking intervention activities, but also carrying out their own prophylactic programmes.
There are also plans to create the Training Academy, within whose framework workshops and competence support for teaching and administrative staff will be carried out. Training materials will be available online, which will provide everyone with easy access to all information.
In addition, a manual entitled "Disability. University of Opole in Action", which will contain information about the disabilities and how to recognize and respond to a crisis situation will be developed and published. The manual will also address issues concerning the implementation of internal procedures and communication policy for persons with disabilities.
It needs to be emphasised that all websites of the UO will be adjusted to the needs of persons with disabilities.
Investments that will make life easier
The project will include the purchase and installation of three lifting devices adapted to the latest standards to allow free movement of persons with disabilities in the UO buildings - the new lifts will be installed in the main building at 48 Oleska Street, in Collegium Pedagogicum at 2a Czaplaka Street, and in the building at 1 Staszica Square. Ramps and a platform for the disabled will be built in Collegium Civitas and in the main building.
All university facilities will also be equipped with contact-free disinfectant dispensers and external blinds, a sound system with an induction loop and new lightening will be installed in Collegium Civitas.
All new solutions will contribute to the improvement of the situation of persons with disabilities and facilitate their functioning, studying and access to facilities and services on the premises of the UO.
The planned amenities and efforts conducted for the benefit of disabled students will increase their chances of active participation in academic life, and the university will become friendlier to everyone.
The University of Opole has received funding of almost PLN 4 million for the project, which will run from 1 November 2020 to 31 October 2023.
Text: Justyna Przybylak
Photo: Sylwester Koral