How are students with disabilities facing the pandemic?
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How are students with disabilities facing the pandemic?
  • Joe Hee-young, Choi Ye-na
  • 승인 2021.05.11 10:09
  • 수정 2021.05.11 13:16
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Ewha may provide the best services for disabled students among Korean universities, yet there is room for improvement. Photo by Ko Yu-seon
Ewha may provide the best services for disabled students among Korean universities, yet there is room for improvement. Photo by Ko Yu-seon

On April 4, commemorating the 41st National Disabled Persons’ Day, Ewha was awarded first prize for best supporting institution for disabled college students.

 

Ewha Voice interviewed Researcher Ko Yoon- ja of Ewha’s Support Center for Students with Disabilities (SCDC) to hear about the services that the center provides for disabled students.

 

In May 2020, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the SCDC decided to support students by continuing the Assistant for Handicapped Students program and providing AI text translation.

 

This year, the number of students who volunteered for the Assistant for Handicapped Students program exceeded the previous year’s total as it also did last year. SCDC has continued to match student volunteers with disabled students as they have done in previous years. However, this year, most communication was conducted via email or chatting applications.

 

“It seemed it took more time between the helper and a disabled student to figure out appropriate configurations such as the note-taking methods,” Ko said.

 

When asked how the center has dealt with the problem of AI programs being unable to read PowerPoint documents, which comprise most online study material, Ko reported that the center hired more helpers and stenographers to fill the void.

 

As the pandemic situation has persisted, Ko said the center will continue to procure remote stenography support and provide more subtitles in larger font sizes.

 

During the midterm of this year’s spring semester, the center arranged for students with disabilities to extend test-taking time by 1.5 times. In consideration of limited support due to the online class environment, oral examinations that exist occasionally in linguistic classes were replaced with listening tests as well.

 

Despite these efforts, two weeks prior, EUBS had released a video on how and why the campus is difficult to maneuver for students with disabilities. Although students on wheel chairs would take twice as long as able students to reach to class, they are not able to utilize the shuttle bus nor receives any vehicle support on transportation.

 

When reminded this problem, Ko explained vehicle support is one of many projects the center is attempting to achieve for the betterment of environment for disabled students.


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