The government has announced that third-tier institutions will receive 3 million euros this year to help make campuses and practices more inclusive.

Minister of Further and Higher Education Simon Harris called it one of two initiatives to support students with autism and people with intellectual disabilities in access to tertiary education.

The first initiative from September will distribute a one-time funding of 3 million euros between state-funded colleges and universities to implement inclusive projects on their campuses and create opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.

Read more:Higher Education Minister Simon Harris says Irish students can expect lower tuition fees in the future

Mr Harris said it would “lay the groundwork” for more inclusive campuses.

“It could be staff training, it could be student information campaigns, it could be the use of technology to teach differently, it could be sensory space,” the minister said at a launch event at Trinity College Dublin on Thursday.

“So tools that will really make college learning more inclusive and greatly increase the chances of autistic students at the third level.”

The second initiative costs another 3 million euros a year for the next three years.

The Department of Continuing and Higher Education invites colleges and universities to offer how they can support and educate students with intellectual disabilities, and funding will be distributed accordingly.

“I think the success looks as if we are completely overwhelmed by applications from universities across the country that say, ‘I can help with something here,'” Mr Harris said, adding that if that happened, more funding could be sought.

Mr Harris said that if a college or university did not come up with an idea, he would find it “terribly unambitious”.

“It’s a challenge for the sector and a sector that can handle that challenge.”

Mr Harris said it was an initial step and that a National Access Plan would be announced later this month, “in which people with intellectual disabilities will be recognized as a priority group for the first time” to improve access.

“Today is the initial infusion of resources by me and the government, followed even more through the National Access Plan.”

Disability Minister Anne Rabbit said the € 3 million funding was “transformative”.

“So far, all my money is actually going to support my health. There are no funds to support people with disabilities in other areas, neither in education nor in employment.

“I hope that other senior ministers will give me the same … and take part in reviewing my disability potential or will work with us on an innovative autism strategy … and that senior ministers will support me with some funding.

“I don’t need very much, but we need it to make it real.”

Referring to Mr. Harris, Ms. Rabbit said, “I bring an element of passion, he brought money here today.”

Dr Anna Kelly, director of access and lifelong learning at University College Dublin, said funding had “changed the situation”.

“This initial funding will allow all students … to be treated fairly and they will gain a universal learning experience that is designed and customized to meet the needs of all.”

She said that in recent years, those wishing to enter higher education have changed, and institutions need to “plan and think differently.”

“How do we move from opening the door, from access and inclusion as an app,‘ nice to have ’, to an integral, basic belief … that is practiced and demonstrated by all?

“It’s about flexibility and choice for students – one size doesn’t fit all.”

Get the latest news in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter

Source link

Previous articleCovid payments have allowed users to increase drug use
Next articleSouth Neighbors raise royal knees during Platinum Jubilee street party