As part of the working visit of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the United States, First Lady Olena Zelenska met with the leadership of the Diversity and Access Office of Stanford University, which deals with issues of ensuring equal access and the needs of students and teachers with disabilities and inclusive activity. Interaction programs for the exchange of experience of inclusive practices with universities in the world, plans to improve work towards ensuring the special educational needs of students and creating conditions for teachers in the United States, as well as providing online education at Stanford University, were discussed at the meeting.
"In Ukraine, inclusive approaches are becoming a priority because it is a response to the request of people with special needs and the entire Ukrainian society," Zelenska said.
The Diversity and Access Office is committed to ensuring equal educational opportunities for all individuals, regardless of race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation. It exists at Stanford University, founded in 1885. Now about 55% of men and 45% of women study at the university.
Stanford University is an international organization that educates students from all 50 U.S. states and 91 countries of the world. The university unites seven schools and 18 interdisciplinary institutes, in which more than 15,000 students study, of which 3,000 are persons with disabilities. The Office pays special attention to the issue of providing appropriate learning conditions for people with disabilities, which is an important element of the overall policy of the university.
"Our main goal is to ensure the inclusion and participation of students in the educational process involving their potential as much as possible. That is, we seek to reveal the unique capabilities of each our student. Every student is unique to us. Every student is different," ADA Program Compliance Director at the Diversity and Access Office Rosa Gonzalez said.
The curriculum at the university is designed personally for each student. The university has accessible classes. Interpretation of lectures into sign language is provided. Special instructions are sent to each teacher to give extra time for passing the exam or take into account the student's need to take a test or exam in a separate room. Assistants who convert a text into large print, digitize and interpret it in Braille language are also engaged. Students have the opportunity to upload their medical certificates to a special system, and add a specific request for the provision of educational services.
"Our task is to make sure that people with disabilities are noticed. So that they can be among other students, and they understand that we are all equal," ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Program Director at the Diversity and Access Office Sheila Sanchez said.
Olena Zelenska, together with the President of Ukraine, arrived in the United States. The program of the First Lady's visit includes a number of meetings and events, in particular the opening of the Ukrainian House, as well as the launch of the first Ukrainian-language audio guide in the United States.