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Russia: Integrating PWD into higher education

There is a new government effort in Russia to integrate people with physical disabilities into higher education. After decades of segregation, Russians with a variety of physical disabilities are gaining access to the country's universities and taking classes alongside nondisabled students. The Russian Ministry of Education has decided to open up dozens of new centers at existing public and private universities around the country to help them integrate students with disabilities.

Perhaps the university undergoing the biggest change is the Moscow State Social Humanitarian Institute. Historically, it specialized in teaching students who had significant physical disabilities, but five years ago, it changed its name from Moscow Institute for Students With Disabilities and began accepting applicants without physical disabilities. Today it has about 500 disabled students, most with musculoskeletal disorders, and 300 nondisabled, offering a model of how to integrate the two populations.

So far, 26,000 or .6% of Russians with disabilities, are attending a university.  What this means is that while Russia still has a way to go in this endeavor, it is certainly a big step in the right direction.

Nadine