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SERVICES TO ATTEND STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS AT UNIVERSITIES

D. Gallardo-Vázquez1, M.I. Sánchez-Hernández1, M.L. Pajuelo-Moreno2

1University of Extremadura (SPAIN)
2University Pablo Olavide (SPAIN)
In the context of University Social Responsibility (USR), universities are assuming socially responsible approaches like companies in recent years. In this sense, they are aware of the changes they must experience, improvement they must face and the challenges they have to reach (Gallardo-Vázquez, 2012). Today it is clear that universities have a central role for the impact that the incorporation of Social Responsibility (SR) could have in the design of their training and research programs, as well as incorporating it into their mission, vision and corporate strategy (Muijen, 2004). Some universities already have an outstanding part in the implementation of USR activities and we can say that, in Spain, USR is a central focus of the University Strategy 2015, which has defined the policies and main lines of modernization of the Spanish University for the present time by incorporating this new paradigm of responsibility and sustainability.

USR is recognized as a viable way to solve poverty, social exclusion and environmental degradation contributing to the achievement of a better society. Thus, given that the social dimension is a key factor in the USR, and disability and equal treatment is an essential ingredient of the SR, and as it has been expresses by the University Student Statute approved by Royal Decree 1791/2010 in Spain, it is necessary to design a set of actions to meet the needs and demands of a special type of stakeholders, i.e., students with special needs.

Specifically, in this paper, we focus on the issue of existing Services in Spanish universities for the attention to students with disabilities, and this for several specific reasons. First, attention to these students in universities is a specific health issue, which has had great impact on the educational, social, economic and political spheres worldwide. Second, universities must provide the necessary resources so that equality among all students was achieved.

The objective of the paper is to analyze the existing Services at Universities to attend students with special needs. The methodology is qualitative and descriptive, performing a content analysis of the Services defined at Universities. For this purpose, we analyze reports published by Spanish universities in recent years. Here, first, we analyze the USR Reports by the specificity of their content and, secondly, in cases where there was not an available report we revised other reports, such as management and even issued reports that, although not expressly USR reports, they do include aspects to study.

In conclusion, the paper ends with a specification of the existing Services, the actions they are carrying out, the activities in University Student Statute they are supporting, and we derive the need to improve the Services and the introduction of SR at this level at the Universities. We are convinced that this study at the University can generate advantages and very positive results, both for the institution as a whole and for these stakeholders, students with special needs.