Coventry University leads UK-Indonesia initiative to increase disability inclusion in higher education

Wednesday 20 March 2024

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A new initiative led by Coventry University is pioneering solutions to address the challenges faced by disabled students in Indonesian universities.

Coventry University has been awarded the UK-Indonesia Disability Inclusion Partnerships Grant by the British Council to facilitate the establishment of the Indonesia HE Disability Union (I-HEDU), which seeks to address the diverse needs of disabled students, promote inclusivity and build pathways to higher education.

The end goal is to establish a replicable model for disability-inclusive higher education, providing benefits not only to Indonesia but potentially extending to other Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) countries and the UK.

Led by Sylvester Arnab, award-winning Professor of Game Science at the Research Centre for Postdigital Cultures and supported by Professor Katherine Wimpenny from the Research Centre for Global Learning, this collaborative initiative also involves Dr Muhibbudin Fadhli from the Universitas Negeri Malang, Dr Rochmat Aldy Purnomo from Universitas Muhamadiyah Ponorogo and Dr Dominic Mahon from the University of Surrey, as well as support from Jovie Pebrihandono in Coventry University Singapore Hub.

I-HEDU will leverage collective expertise by engaging with disabled people and volunteers to employ playful co-creative approaches for knowledge exchange and grassroots initiatives.

Building on the successes of previous community-centred educational initiatives, such as the ACES project, the aim of I-HEDU is to inform higher education policy through a participatory approach, ensuring equal access and future career opportunities for disabled people in higher education.

The project aligns with several United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, including quality education, reduced inequalities and decent work and economic growth.

Key benefits of the initiative include fostering international research collaboration and promoting inclusive higher education practices, with success measured through data collection, analysis and success stories from the experiences of disabled people involved in the project.

The UK-Indonesia Disability Grant provides a platform to create long-lasting change in the landscape of higher education for disabled people.

Through collaborative efforts and innovative approaches, we aspire to set a precedent for disability inclusion that goes beyond borders.

Professor Sylvester Arnab, Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University

The UK-Indonesia Disability Inclusion Partnerships Grants support collaboration between UK and Indonesian universities to design and deliver projects on supporting Indonesian universities in mainstreaming disability-inclusive education.

The grant is part of the wider British Council programme, Going Global Partnerships, which supports universities, colleges and wider education stakeholders around the world to work together towards stronger, equitable, inclusive, more internationally connected higher education, science and TVET.

Through international partnerships, system collaborations and opportunities to connect and share, we enable stronger transnational education, more collaborative research, higher quality delivery enhanced learner outcomes and stronger, internationalised, equitable and inclusive systems and institutions.

This leads to stronger higher education, research and TVET systems around the world that can support fairer social and economic growth and address national and global challenges – all backed up by mutually beneficial international relationships.