As one of the leading universities in the Muslim countries, the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) has attracted many excellent talents to join the University as students or as staff, regardless of their disabilities. The opportunity provided by the IIUM has opened doors to persons with disabilities to play an equally important role in the process of developing the country and the Muslim ummah as a whole.
In view of the increasing number of students and staff with various types of disabilities, in April 2012 a group of staff and students with disabilities proposed the idea to the Honourable Rector to establish a unit within the University to cater specifically to the needs of persons with disabilities, as generally practiced especially at all leading universities in the world. With the strong support of the University, the Disability Services Unit (DSU) of the IIUM was established in July 2012 to cater specifically to the needs of students, staff and visitors with disabilities at the IIUM. It seeks to provide equal opportunity for comprehensive excellence and access to teaching and learning through enhancement of facilities and services for persons with disabilities. This is in line with the Islamic spirit of al-'adl wa al-ihsan, and in accordance with Malaysia's Persons with Disabilities Act 2008. It is also consistent with the IIUMyFamily concept that promotes inclusion of students and staff with disability in education and employment.
The establishment of the DSU coincides with the directive from the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) to establish such a unit as stated in Phase 2 of the "Action Plan to Improve Teaching and Learning of Disabled Students at Institutions of Higher Learning". The Action Plan consists of four strategic objectives:
i) accessibility & support system for teaching and learning,
ii) enhancement of quality of life,
iii) creation of disabled-friendly environment & services, and
iv) career development programmes for disabled students.
The strategic objectives are to be implemented during the period of 2011-2015.
The DSU is currently placed under the Office of the Deputy Rector (Student Affairs) and its office is located at Student Affairs and Development Division (STADD), Level 2 of the Rectory Building. It is currently headed by Professor Dr. Ruzita Mohd. Amin, who is also a Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences, IIUM. The DSU works closely with the STADD, particularly the Welfare Unit of STADD, the Development Division, the Management Services Division (MSD) and all other kulliyyahs/departments/centers of the University in undertaking its duties.
The DSU has been appointed as Advisor to the IIUM Ibn Ummi Maktum Club (I-MaC), which is the society of disabled students of the University. Together, both the DSU and I-MaC complement each other in ensuring the needs of disabled students, in particular, are attended to.