22 SES 06 A, Internationalisation: Student learning and mobility
Democratisation of HE has helped to ensure a growing trend of increasing enrolment of students with disability, although it is still not significant enough in terms of potential numbers. According to the World Health Organisation, 15% of the world’s population are estimated to live with some form of disability (World Report on Disability, 2011) and evidence suggests that persons with disabilities are disproportionately represented among the world’s poor. The adaptation of HE to cater for disability is of major importance from an economic, political and social point of view. Only through this can the employability of disabled persons be enhanced, and public policies focusing on the promotion of work, income security, poverty prevention and social exclusion can be supported. Consequently, the international community is increasingly taking into consideration the rights of disabled students regarding their access to HE.
Stainback and Stainback (1990) consider the notion of inclusion to be a moral imperative that does not depend on the results and empirical tests of scientific research: “[…] inclusion is a way of living honestly, ethically and fairly” (Stainback & Stainback, 1990, pp. 71-87). They propose an ethical paradigm in which all individuals have the moral right to be educated in ordinary contexts, and inclusion is the ideal context for achieving this objective. Since the 1990s, international political and scientific debate has backed the concept of “inclusion”, in which access and participation of all students (including disabled) are considered a priority. Moreover, UNESCO (2000) recommends replacing the term “special educational needs” with “education for all”. In order to promote real educational and cultural changes, the concept of education for all considers diversity as a value. In other words, inclusion aims to change the traditional educational view, typically based on the “specialised answer to special needs” (focus on people with disabilities), into an “ordinary answer to the needs of all”.
Take in account the above-mentioned scenario, this paper presents the European project “Modernity and Disability. Ensuring Quality Education for Disabled Students (MUSE)” coordinated by University of Viña del Mar (Chile).
The main objective of the MUSE project is to improve access, ensure learning conditions and develop employment opportunities for HEIs’ Disabled Students in Latin American countries via modern inclusion practices and networking. The three Latin American countries involved in are Chile, Mexico and Argentina, with the support of institutions in Europe (Italy, UK, Spain and Greece). The expected output regards the creation of Students with disabilities Support Centres and long-term strategies for the access and retention of Students with disabilities in HE system.
Starting from the recognition and identification of the needs, potential and difficulties of each University involved, the research focused on the training and adaptation of learning resources to support the training of trainers (academic and administrative staff) of Latin America partners. Consider an inclusive framework, specific attention is paid to train the target mentioned in the educational use of ICTs and to share, promote, co-create knowledge and skills concerning methods, practices and strategies to deal with various aspects of disabled students within HEI.
The project strongly supports and believes in the motto “Nothing About Us Without Us” used by Disabled Peoples' Organizations throughout the years as part of the global movement to achieve equal opportunities, with the full inclusion of affected persons in the processes. The action will invite disabled students to have a full participation in the project at all its stages. The pedagogical methodology will be participative and inclusive, highly focused on practicality and good practice. It develops the follow research and development activities. 1. Need Analysis & Transfer of Know How. The focus of the action will be on overcoming the lack of information and generation of specific knowledge related to disabled students in LA HEIs. 2. Ideation and implementation of training programme addressed to the whole spectrum of administrative and academic staff dealing with disabled students. In the “train-the-trainers” approach will be used to provide trainees with the ability to replicate the training activities within their institutions. The project will help universities practically implement and test the knowledge gained in previous activities. In order to ensure quality of the workshop feedback from the trainees will be collected, analysed and evaluated. 3. Installation of the Disabled Students Support in the Latin America universities. The aim is to establish the centres, followed by the process of selecting and recruiting a person responsible for running the Centre. A specific focus regards the purchase and the installation of the necessary Assistive Technology (AT) that will be located in and under the responsibility of the Centre. 4. Creation of Regional networking for the inclusion of disabled students in Higher Education. It will serve as to structured the platform to support regional dialogue on issues related to inclusive education and support of students with disability within HEIs.
Regarding the “research activity 3”, we will present the directions and results related to the setting up of the Disabled Students Support Centre. In order to promote inclusive and participative learning processes at University, the paper shows several potentials and pedagogical ways to use the ICT, take in account: • the development of “inclusive didactic models” to place the assistive technology within HE system; • the importance to develop and share Open Educational Resources (OERs); • the importance to know and test innovative didactic strategies, mediated by ICT, to enhance the active participation of each learner; • the design and dissemination of Open Source suites of software to sustain also the students with Specific Learning Disorder and with Disabilities (i.e. “TuttiXuni” text to speech software already available in Spanish languages); • the development of Guidelines to make accessible the OERs created addressed to academic staff, researchers, technical-administrative and librarian personnel. The presence of students with disabilities in HE can no longer be read as an emergency, but need to be faced more structurally through a multi-dimensional approach that is closely linked to a common education project and adeguate educational policy. Thus, it is fundamental to remind that the education context can foster or hinder the quality of inclusion processes in the whole society.
Booth, T., Ainscow, M. (2002). Index for inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools. Bristol: CSIE. Caldin, R. (2012). Perchè “tutte e tutti” a scuola? Il diritto all’apprendimento e alla socializzazione. In A. Quartino, & A. Bacchinetti (Eds.), Il presente incontra il futuro (pp. 133-160). Belluno: Tiziano. Canevaro, A. (1991). Pedagogia Speciale: la riduzione dell’handicap. Milano: Mondadori. Calvani, A., Fini, A. & Ranieri, M. (Eds.) (2010). La competenza digitale nella scuola: modelli e strumenti per valutarla e svilupparla. Trento: Erickson. D’Alessio, S. (2011). Inclusive Education in Italy. A Critical Analysis of the Policy of Integrazione scolastica. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers Mishra, P. & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for integrating technology in teachers’ knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. Stainback, W. & Stainback S. (1990), Support networks for inclusive schooling: interdependent integrated education. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes. UNESCO - Section for Special Needs Education (2000). Inclusive Education and Education for All. A challenge and a vision. Paris: Unesco. Wilkin, C., Rubino, C., Zell, D. & Shelton, L. (2012). Where Technologies Collide: A Technology Integration Model. In Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2012 (pp. 1701-1711). Chesapeake (VA): AACE.
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