Disability Awareness Training: creating attitudes for success
April 21, 2021
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KIT recently held two Disability Awareness Training sessions for its staff and students in March and April, 2021. The training sessions were organised by Beia Temango, who is undertaking his work placement for Certificate II in Community Services at KIT with the Student Support Services unit, and were presented to staff and students at the Betio Campus maneaba and the School of Nursing and Health at Bikenibeu.
Beia was the first student with vision impairment to graduate from the Community Services course at KIT and is bringing his personal and professional experience to his placement through organising the delivery of the training. Beia addressed the attitudinal shifts required to support people with disabilities to study in mainstream education through his own story;
“During my first mainstream course, I faced a lot of challenges. One was the ‘attitudinal barrier’ coming from students in class and on campus questioning my capability as a vision impaired student in a mainstream class.”
Beia is transforming these challenges into a positive experience for students in the future through training initiatives and advocacy. In addition to his work placement at KIT, Beia also continues to work as a Supporting Officer at Te Toa Matoa (TTM), as well as holding the role of Secretary for the Kiribati Blind and Low Vision Association.
The training sessions were delivered in partnership with TTM and the Ministry of Women, Youth, Sport and Social Affairs (MWYSSA) and supported by the Australian Government through the Kiribati Facility.
The TTM Resource Team presented on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) published by the United Nations, which helped inform the Kiribati National Disability Policy (KNDP) which was the focus of the MWYSSA presentation.
The training sessions demonstrated KIT’s response to the kind of ‘structural and institutional change’ outlined by the KNDP by creating awareness throughout the school community and implementing attitudinal change throughout its mainstream course offerings for all students, living with or without disabilities. As Beia highlighted, assessment procedures and duration are important considerations to ensure people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to pass their subjects.
KIT is committed to the success and implementation of its own Disability Support Plan, developed with the support of the Kiribati Facility, in collaboration with its disability partners and people with lived experience of disability. The Kiribati Facility, through KIT, provides financial and educational support to students with disabilities to enable them to study mainstream courses. Beia is one such student who has benefited from this support.
Increasingly, KIT graduates living with disabilities are gaining employment and being recognised for their skills sets. Along with Beia, other KIT graduates have gone on to work in their area of skills training, from construction to government administration.