The Model of Technology-Supported Learning for Special Educational Needs Learners: Towards Inclusive Environment for Students With Disabilities (SWDs) in Malaysian Higher Education

The Model of Technology-Supported Learning for Special Educational Needs Learners: Towards Inclusive Environment for Students With Disabilities (SWDs) in Malaysian Higher Education

Roslinda Alias, Nor Aziah Alias, Johan Eddy Luaran, Rosilawati Sueb, Mahadi Kamaludin
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2560-8.ch012
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The Model of Technology-Supported Learning can be considered among the comprehensive model in creating the inclusive environment for SWDs. It is based on the two needs assessments conducted among the public and 66 SWDs from eight Malaysian HEIs. It was then validated by a heterogeneous group of 11 subject matter experts (SMEs) from overseas and locals via the Delphi Technique. The consensus among the SMEs was achieved at the Round Two of Delphi. This indicates that the Model of Technology Supported Learning for SEN Learners is feasible and accepted to be implemented in the Malaysian HEIs. The Model comprised of one main component with six sub-components namely: 1) Academic Affairs, 2) Student Affairs, 3) Library, 4) University Administration, 5) Community, Industrial Networking, and Alumni, and 6) Special Department/Unit for SEN learners. In this chapter, the focus will be given on the special unit for SEN learners' component. The exemplification of the component will be discussed further to demonstrate how the Model is feasible to be implemented in higher education.
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Each higher education institution should be able to create an inclusive environment for all learners so that no one will be left out in pursuing higher education. This is because, by creating an inclusive environment for learning, it will accommodate the students with disabilities (SWDs) to learn along with the non-SWDs in HEIs.

In Malaysia, inclusive education movement started with the focused given to the SWDs in (Manisah Mohd Ali, Ramlee Mustapha, & Zalizan Mohd Jelas, 2006). One of the aims of inclusive education movement in Malaysia is to support the World’s Declaration on Education for All held in Jomtien, Thailand (1990), The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education (1994) as well as The Dakar Framework of Action (2000) and the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action (2002).

On 19 July 2010 Malaysia ratified or formally confirmed its full participation in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocols (2006) after a year signing the treaty. The continuous efforts towards this movement could be seen from the Malaysian Education Development Master Plan 2006-2010, which emphasizes on the equity of education for all Malaysians including SWDs.

The development of the Model of Technology-Supported Learning for Special Educational Needs Learners is owing to the awareness of the researchers on the importance of the support component for the SWDs to sustain in higher education institutions (HEIs). As highlighted by National Association of School Psychologists (2010), support is one of the vital elements in facilitating SWDs in enduring their education and life.

Although SWDs gained various benefits from the supports offered by their respective HEIs, there is a need for an extra element of support for them to sustain their life as university students. This is due to various barriers faced by SWDs in universities as found by Roslinda Alias & Nor Aziah Alias (2012), Ministry of Higher Education (2011) and Hasnah Toran, Mohd Hanafi, Mohd Mokhtar, & Norasuzaini Sujak (2009).

Among the barriers identified is the lack of awareness and knowledge among the non-SWDs and the universities’ staff on the needs and challenges faced by SWDs in their learning process and in their entire realm as HEI students (Roslinda Alias & Nor Aziah Alias, 2012; Hasnah Toran et al., 2009). Roslinda Alias and Nor Aziah Alias (2012) also found that SWDs in Malaysian universities felt inferior due to their conditions. This inadvertently and negatively impacted their academic performance.

The barriers and challenges faced by SWDs may impede the creation of inclusive environment particularly in Malaysian HEIs. This is contradicting with one of the efforts of Malaysian government which is moving towards inclusive education practices.

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