The right to study to recognize equal dignity to all

The right to study to recognize equal dignity to all

3 August 2022 0 By salvatore cimmino

Boston, Harvard University
Salvatore Cimmino con Ken Goldman
Program Director at MIT Office of Corporate Relations

The right to study, in our country, is not (yet) for everyone: according to the latest data, students with disabilities in our universities are 36,000, that is to say less than 1 in 100. And it is even worse for the people with disabilities who can carry out post-graduate research: there are less than 500. Still too few, considering that according to the latest data, people with various forms of disability would be at least 7 million. This data is confirmed by Anvur, the University and Research System Evaluation Agency: more than a third of Italian families have ties to people who suffer from various forms of disability.

There is still a long way to go to ensure access to the University, even if progress has been made. According to a report on Disability, DSA and access to university education presented by Anvur and CNUDD (National University Conference of Delegates for Disability), a picture emerges that is in some respects comforting, in others much less: out of 90 Italian universities, 86 ensure access and services for people with disabilities. 77% offer specific guidance services before, during and after their studies, while 69% provide support services such as specialized tutoring or digital teaching material.

But then the painful notes arrive. Only 28% of Italian universities offer transport services to and from home and the same problems are encountered in accessing a home for students with off-site disabilities: these are the main aspects to improve because of the 36,816 students with disabilities, 17 thousand have a disability of more than 66% and 16 thousand suffer from forms of learning disorders such as dyslexia, autism, dysgraphia and neurological disorders.

Integrating people with disabilities is a great challenge, which can be won by focusing on competence and cooperation. At school, before that elsewhere, it is necessary to train in differences, welcoming them as heterogeneity, activating inclusive paths understood as availability. It is not enough to integrate diversity. In other words, it is not a question of creating conditions of normalization; instead, it is necessary to make room for the richness of difference, adapting the known, the environments, the practice, from time to time, on the basis of each specific singularity. Normality must therefore become constant metamorphosis. To do this, however, widespread skills are needed, in continuous training, in continuous dialogue with families.

If we want to be consistent between our policies to guarantee a dignified life for all everywhere, in the face of the epochal challenge of social inclusion, it is necessary for Italy to adopt a law on the equalization of accidents in life with accidents at work – (click here to read the text of the Proposal) – together with enhanced concertation aimed at improving the quality of life in the direction indicated by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The right to education is fundamental and I hope it will be on the agenda of the next government because disability and social inclusion are a cross-cutting theme.

Salvatore Cimmino