With the move toward mass higher education in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the higher education system will need to reexamine how it is meeting the needs of students with disabilities. There are numerous physical, cultural, and social barriers which bar full participation and inclusion. With increasing rates of long-term disability due to decreases in communicable disease, improved medical technology, and improved child mortality, it is now more important than ever to acknowledge and address the needs of students with disabilities as they enter post-secondary education in the Hong Kong SAR. Problems of intercultural communication are often hard to overcome when addressing issues with such deeply rooted cultural attitudes as those toward disability. The understanding of a good school in the context of Hong Kong and traditional Chinese culture is that a good school is one where its students perform at a high level of achievement, is well ordered, and the students are well behaved. Providing accommodations on an individual level, as in the American model, is seen as a departure from the ideal because energy is being directed to the provision of accommodations instead of the educational program. Because of this understanding, learning support services are seen as being negative. However, the reality of poorly performing students, whether because of disability or another reason, has its effects on the performance of a good school. The expansion of the Western model of higher education to Asia and the Pacific presents specific problems in the accommodation of students with disabilities that have not been presented in other cultural contexts. By examining features of the two cultures and their attitudes toward persons with disabilities, students and institutions in both countries benefit.
|Keywords:||Disability Student Services, Comparative Higher Education, Hong Kong, Cultural Attitudes|
Educational Accessibility Advisor, Office of Educational Accessibility, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Graduate Program Director and Associate Professor, Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA
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