AUN-DPPnet leads the way in disability-inclusive development in ASEAN Universities

By AUN-DPPnet Secretariat
31 August 2020

On 26 August 2020, the 12th Thematic Network of the AUN, the AUN Disability and Public Policy Network (AUN-DPPnet) had their Fifth Executive Board Meeting 2020/2021 online for the first time, adjusting to the new working norms set as a result of COVID-19.

The meeting was attended by 11 Board Members from across ASEAN including permanent Board Members from Universiti Malaya, the ASEAN University Network, the Nippon Foundation, as well as appointed Board Members from Ateneo de Manila University, Universitas Airlangga, Mahidol University, the University of Mandalay, and the Vietnam-Japan University.

The Board also welcomes two persons with disabilities (PWD) members. These two members are:

- Associate Prof. Dr. Makmor Tumin (Visually-Impaired) - the Department of Administrative Studies and Politics, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya and alumni of AUN-DPPnet
- Mr. Fritz Enjhay O Cepe (Physical Disability) - Municipal Hall of San Jose de Buenvista Antique, Philippines

The meeting was chaired by the Director of AUN-DPPnet, Professor Dr. Yahaya Ahmad. The Board members were informed of the successes of the network from 2019 until May 2020 which include:

AUN-DPPnet Scholarship Programme:
There are 56 PWD Scholars under AUN-DPPnet’s Scholarship Award Program which spread across 7 ASEAN countries including 9 new scholars for the 2020/2021 cohort. As of August 2020, 27 scholars have successfully graduated from the Master’s programme at their respective universities. The AUN- DPPnet Secretariat looks forward to congratulating another 17 scholars who will soon complete their postgraduate studies.

Accessibility and Universal Design Training Course 2020 (AUDT):
The AUN-DPPnet Secretariat has successfully trained 71 PWD participants from across the ASEAN region as Access Auditors as of February 2020. Recently, the AUN-DPPnet Secretariat expanded the quota for the 4th AUDT Program due to the overwhelming support from PWDs in the ASEAN region for the program. The AUN-DPPnet Secretariat received over 100 applications from 8 ASEAN countries for this capacity building program and chose the most qualified to become participants of this program based on country representation, working background, disability severity, and age.

AUN-DPPnet Alumni Community Projects:
The following are projects done by the alumni community of AUN-DPPnet. Both of these projects were led by researchers from the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, University of Malaya.

The Tourism Portal for Persons with Disabilities In The ASEAN Region:
This is one of the alumni community projects created during the alumni gathering at the ASEAN-Japan Summit for University Students with Disabilities in Tokyo in December 2018. This project aimed to establish the INCMaps application which will help PWD tourists while on tour. The application will integrate the accessibility information of the surrounding area along with various features such as amenity mapping, PWD and Facility Classification, and user support which allow PWD users to review places according to their disability class. 13 of AUN-DPPnet scholars were involved in the development of this INCmap Application.

Job Portal for Persons With Disabilities:
This is the second alumni community project which was also created during the ASEAN-Japan Summit Program in December 2018.. This project aimed to develop an integrated job portal for PWD users. About 16 scholars from AUN-DPPnet were involved from the beginning of this Job Portal Project to accomplish tasks such as identifying problems faced by people with disabilities, particularly in finding a suitable job.

International Special Education Exhibition 2019 (ISEE2019):
From 29th August – 1st September 2019, the AUN-DPPnet Secretariat had the opportunity to promote our programs at the First Special Education Exhibition which was co-organized by the National Special Education Association (PPKK) and Special Education Association of Kuala Lumpur (PPKKL) in collaboration with Universiti Malaya (UM). The international scholars of AUN-DPPnet were given a slot in the SENTalk to share their experience studying abroad as PWDs.

Towards Inclusive Learning Environment (T.I.L.E) Research Project:
The Board was informed that the T.I.L.E Project publications will soon be published and to be disseminated to all AUN universities. The universities shall use the outputs from the T.I.L.E Project to improve their readiness in accepting students with disabilities in the campus.

1. Inclusive Learning Environment in Higher Education Institutions in ASEAN Countries: An Analysis of Existing Policies and Legal Framework
2. Inclusive University Campu Environment: Case studies of Higher Learning Institutions in ASEAN Countries

Recognition by the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia:
In April 2019, the AUN-DPPnet Secretariat received recognition by the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia and was awarded a one year project grant entitled “Framework of Inclusive Campus to Increase The Number of PwDs Students in Local Universities in Malaysia (MyU-OKU)”.

● The outputs of this project are as the following:Inclusive Campus Guideline for Universities in Malaysia
● Rating system of inclusive campus for Universities in Malaysia (System MyU-OKU)

The Inclusive Campus Guideline and the System MyU-OKU will be used by all universities in Malaysia for improving the campus. Both the guidelines and the system will be officially launched by the Minister of Higher Education in October 2020.

University of Malaya Excellent Award 2019 (ACUM):
Due to the significant support towards the disability community through the AUN-DPPnet program, mainly towards the Scholarship Program and Accessibility and Universal Design Training Course since the year 2016, the University of Malaya has recognized the impactful results from the program and thus awarded our sponsor, the Nippon Foundation, Japan as the Best Corporate Partner - Capacity Building Category at ACUM Award 2019. The award was presented by the University of Malaya Chancellor, His Royal Highness Paduka Seri Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfurlah at Dewan Tunku Canselor, University of Malaya on 19 December 2019.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the remarkable support of The Nippon Foundation for sponsoring our thematic network since 2016 and a special thank you to the Executive Board Members for their general support towards the AUN-DPPnet Secretariat.