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Paradigm Shift in German Disability Policy and its Impact on Students with Disabilities in Higher Education
This qualitative study attempts to explore the factors affecting the educational experiences of students with disabilities at Freie University (FU), Berlin, Germany. The main objective of the study is to understand the paradigm shift in German disability policy and its impact on the educational experience of students with disabilities. Secondly, to explore the factors that assist and hinder these students in pursuing higher education. For this study, the researcher collected data from the disability coordinator and five students with disabilities (three visually impaired and two mobility impaired) by using the snowball sampling method. Respondents described several factors that facilitated the creation of positive educational experiences and challenging situations faced by them during their course of study. An important finding of the study is that, the disability coordinator plays an important role in assisting and integrating students with disabilities in this university. But it was also found that some problems exist within the existing system. The implications for policy include a recommendation for a decentralised supporting system, full-time availability of a disability coordinator, and additional funding resources to resolve different issues. It suggests that further research is needed to understand how positive educational experiences of students with disabilities can lead to better social interaction and academic success in higher education for such students.
Students with Disabilities, Higher Education, Special Needs, Rights, Support Services
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