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How Can Online Learning Benefit Students With Disabilities? - Written by Nikol Nikolova, Edited by Umah Ganeshalingam

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

With the unexpected and turbulent events of the COVID-19 pandemic came the urgent need to adapt to the new challenges faced. Nearly every sector of our society took drastic measures in order to adjust. The education system was no different, being forced to adopt a new model for online teaching and learning.

Now more than ever, we are seeing the benefits of e-learning, which may be especially applicable for students with disabilities. This population is often neglected by a system that is not truly inclusive. 

In Vietnam, 5.8% of the population has some form of disability and 75% of the disabled populations live in rural areas. Prior to COVID-19, those with a disability were already one of the most marginalized groups, with reduced access to quality education, training, and subsequently job opportunities and a stable income. It has even been reported that many schools in rural areas have not taken the necessary measures to make their facilities and buildings accessible to students with physical disabilities.

Creating and implementing new tools in order to further e-learning can potentially have a breadth of benefits for students with physical disabilities. It essentially means that an individual with a disability is no longer disadvantaged by the place where they were born; they can access the training they need in order to advance in their chosen careers. Not only will they be able to take classes from home, but they can also have access to large libraries of online information and resources, improving inclusivity. 

However, there is certainly a challenge to this opportunity as online learning requires access to technology, including computers, laptops and a stable internet connection. These tools can truly be a luxury in rural areas. This is why it’s vital that the required facilities and equipment are provided when needed. With the implementation of technologies and tools in the communities living in rural areas, the students can benefit greatly. 

With more and more teachers transitioning to teaching online, their newly gained experience enables them to deliver engaging lessons through this medium. Better Life Vietnam’s online English learning program is one example of such an initiative. Access to e-learning allows these students to have a sense of autonomy. It means that certain barriers to their education are broken and they are not discriminated against by their disability. Developing this model for online learning can deliver great benefits for them.

Better Life Vietnam runs an online English learning program for underprivileged children and youth in rural Vietnam. If you are interested to learn more and get involved, visit https://betterlifevietnam.org/ or contact us at betterlifevietnam@gmail.com.