How Unisa Accommodates Students With Disabilities



Having a disability should not prevent individuals from accessing higher education programmes. South Africa’s largest university has revealed how they assist students living with disabilities during their examinations.




The University of South Africa (Unisa) aims to provide equal opportunities for all students enrolled in academic programmes at institutions; this includes students living with disabilities. 

Unisa has a dedicated office that provides information on the services and support available to students living with disabilities. This office is known as the Advocacy and Resource Centre for Students with Disabilities (ARCSWiD). 

ARCSWiD also provides students with advice on assistive technology available to students with disabilities and making content accessible. 

We are committed to helping all students achieve their ambitions. People with disabilities wanting to study through Unisa must apply and register for their qualification. 

Unisa uses an Open Distance e-Learning (ODEL) method of learning which means there is physical distance between the student and the institution. This requires students to have devices with internet access so they can connect to Unisa. 

Students with mobility or physical disabilities that require special accommodation must disclose their disability upon their registration at Unisa. Alternatively, they may inform Unisa about their disability before 31 March for the first semester or 31 August for the second semester. 

How Students Are Assisted During Exams 

Unisa aims to accommodate students with disabilities by providing them with various technical solutions, assessment arrangements, training measures and awareness raising measures. 

Technical solutions may include the accommodation of adjustable furniture, digital recorders and alternative input methods. Alternative input methods can include a joystick, head mouse, alternative keyboards, voice recognition systems and pointers. 

Decisions on whether a change is reasonable can only be made on a case-by-case basis. Students seeking reasonable accommodation must discuss their needs with the University to establish if their special requirements can be accommodated.

Unisa distinguishes between students living with a permanent disability and a temporary disability. 

A temporary disability is considered a condition that a person will recover from. This may be caused by an illness or injury and may last up to two years. 

Examples of temporary disabilities may include, but are not limited to broken limbs, hand injuries, pregnancy, or short-term impairments following surgery or medical treatments.

Unisa explained that students with temporary conditions must present a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner and/or the nearest hospital. 

Exams at Unisa are conducted online. Students with disabilities must be computer literate to participate in exams.


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Unisa students taking an exam.

Students at South Africa’s largest university will begin their mid-year examinations later this month. The university has provided these students with a guide to rules and regulations to ensure they are adequately prepared. 




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