The Scholars Program at UoG, now in its fifth year and halfway through its projected 10-year time frame, has made significant progress in terms of inclusivity. Individuals with disabilities account for one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, with the prevalence of disability being higher in developing countries.
Between 110 million and 190 million people, or one-fifth of the estimated global population, suffer from significant disabilities. The University of Gondar is overcoming preconceptions and barriers by being the first Scholars Program in the world with a particular focus and detail that pertains to persons with disabilities and disadvantages. As a result, educational institutions and the general public will be a better place.
However, it should not be disregarded that catering to such a disenfranchised group may include a learning curve that not only enlightens the Program but also the entire educational sector in the country. In Ethiopia, people with impairments and disadvantages have been marginalized for millennia. As a result of attitudes, sayings, prejudices, discrimination, and underestimating their skills, they have been unable to compete in an equitable environment. As a result, universities across the country still have a lot to learn about working with and catering to people with disabilities.
In line with keeping this agenda and mission, the University of Gondar in its half way mark has been able to look inwards and address some concerns. New program management have been appointed who are ripe with fresh ideas and have pledged to start this new journey with a renewed spirit to cater to the talented scholars. For the next 5 years the new management has pledged to create an environment where transition to work, the material needs of the Scholars and inclusion awareness is of the utmost priority.