Graduate students with disabilities are challenged to get job: study

Department of Special Needs Education of the AAU organized a full day workshop on Challenges of graduate Students with disability on job opportunities in Ethiopia on Dec. 14, 2018 at Mandela Hall.

The workshop focuses on generating substantial ideas, comments and feedback  through discussion pertaining scientific paper entitled ‘Challenges of Graduate Students with Disability on Job Opportunities in Ethiopia’ conducted by the Department of Special Needs Education. The discussion aims to provide valuable inputs and reflections for the research, point out remedies for the challenges face with disability and put future trajectory to improve the employability of graduate students with disabilities.

Experts from Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Addis Ababa Sub-Cities, Disability Associations, Addis Credit &Saving Association and University Community were in attendance.

Dr. Yirgashewa Bekele, the team leader of INEDIS project of Addis Ababa University and the coordinator of the workshop, warmly welcomed the participants and addressed that the workshop is organized by the INEDIS project team members where she also acknowledged that the activities of the project is supported by APPEAR (Austrian Partnership Program in Higher Education and Research for Development.)

Prof. Tirusew Teferra, Department Head of Special Needs Education,  said that, “In this study we observed that graduate students with disability face various challenges to get job opportunities. Not only in job opportunities there are also problems in their residence, education, working environment, mobility and refreshment places.”

Prof. Tirusew raised points to solve these problems; improve the access and equity of education, increase the participation of disabilities in country development and social interactions, create social security support to disabilities, strengthen the disability associations, working with different sectors that matter disability, awareness creation and assure policy enforcement.

Dr. Alemayehu Teklemariam  presented research paper themed ‘Challenges of Graduate Students with Disability on Job Opportunities in Ethiopia’.

The study focuses on persons with visual, auditory and motors disabilities. The research was conducted on five sites; Addis Ababa, Adama,Bahir Dar, Hawassa and Mekelle. The study participants were university students with disabilities, graduated with disabilities, employers and national associations of persons with disabilities.

The study explores the nature and extent of employment barriers, issues surrounding persons with disabilities, identifying areas of intervention to improve the employability of persons with disabilities in the country and reflects the way forward to improve the employability of graduates with disabilities.

According to the study the major challenges to access job for disabilities are; disability related attitudes and misunderstandings, low awareness of educated and non educated people, lack of access to information and negative attitude of employers, selection and vacancy announcement problem that states only persons without disability can apply and lack of on job training education.

Creating awareness, provide priority to persons with disability,enforcement of laws related with disability, provide information, guidance and training, provide support system, strengthening association of disability are some reflections to improve the employability.

The other point of discussion on the workshop was international and national laws regarding to disability presented by Dr. Abebe Yehualawork, Department of Special Needs Education.

The study depicts that there are some domestic/national legal instruments that included provisions aimed at promoting the employment opportunity for persons with disabilities citing the Federal Civil Servant Proclamation No.1064/2017 Article 13 (2).

The study is a sub-project of the “Responding to Poverty and Disability through Higher Education and Research (RESPOND-HER) which is a joint collaborative project between AAU and University of Vienna.