The Open University has underlined its commitment to promoting disability equality and preventing discrimination in all areas of its work by launching a new scheme. The Disability Equality Scheme was launched on 6 February to enable more people in more places to achieve their potential through education. Officially instigated by Lord Low of Dalston CBE, Chairman of the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB), the scheme brings the disabled student community and the University closer together by further reducing access barriers to its varied curriculum.
Although the University has a history of commitment to widening participation and promoting disability equality, it wanted to enhance the current provision and support of its 10,000 disabled students and staff. The Scheme will enable them to participate as fully as is realistic in all aspects of University life by providing an accessible physical and online environment.
In keeping with its strategic priorities, The Open University will continue to increase the diversity of its 12,000 full and part-time staff, which includes addressing the persistent under-representation of disabled people in the workforce.
Will Swan, Director, Students at The Open University, explained: “The Disability Equality Scheme will ensure that we continue to attract and retain talented students and staff and enhance diversity and competitiveness in the ever changing and dynamic higher education environment. It will make a positive and lasting difference to the experiences of our disabled students and staff.”
The Open University has a long-term partnership with the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB). Lord Low of Dalston CBE, Chairman of RNIB, said: “We commend the work that The Open University is doing to make learning accessible for disabled students. In creating the scheme, they have involved staff and students, rather than simply consulting them, resulting in a workplace and learning environment where people are treated with dignity and respect.”
The Disability Equality Scheme was published on 4 December 2006 in accordance with statutory requirements for public authorities under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005.