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DISABILIty services and inclusive support for university students: SANT’ANNA scholars discuss legal developments on the inclusion of students with disabilities in higher education. opening remarks by president SERGIO MATTARELLA – Rome, december 6

Publication date: 02.12.2019
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Twenty years after its adoption, the Law 17/199, replacing previous legislation 104/1992, makes academic institutions accessible and grants students with disabilities scholarships and support services. The conference “Università, Disabilità, Inclusione. Vent’anni dalla Legge 17/1999: tra passato e futuro”, taking place on December 6 at the University Roma Tre, will celebrate the academic achievements of students with disabilities and the innovative programs to support the enrollment of disabled students in higher education institutions. Italian President Sergio Mattarella will give his opening remarks.

Elena Vivaldi, researcher of Constitutional Law at the Dirpolis Institute of Sant’Anna School, will attend the conference serving as the Deputy appointed by Rector Sabina Nuti (under article 16, section 5bis, Law 104/1992) to expand inclusion and accessibility to institutions of higher education on the policy level and to improve supportive programs for disabled students.

The Law 17/199 is a major achievement for the equal rights of disadvantaged groups. In 2015, Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Efforts for equality have resulted in the recognition of discrimination, harassment and victimization: the Law 17/199 goes further to reach an over-arching principle of equality to meet disabled students' needs and evaluate the satisfaction with their studies together with the realization of disability-inclusive development including social protection, education and health-care services.

The Law 17/199 ensures that all universities provide special education and meet individual needs of students with disabilities including special needs tutoring and additional exams and learning support. The Law ensures the education system at all levels is inclusive and disabled students achieve their full potential strengthening the means of finance to support the enforcement of regulations protecting the rights of students and the delivery of essential services. Since 1999, Deputy Vice-Rectors for the implementation of national disability policies and plans have held discussions about the outcome measures of students' academic performance and participation. In 2001, they established the Conferenza Nazionale Universitaria dei Delegati per la Disabilità (National Higher Education Advisory Committee for Inclusion of Students with Disabilities).