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About the congress




October 20-22nd 2021

In the process of building an egalitarian and inclusive society, education plays a crucial role. The human right to education is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among other International Human Rights Treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which implies to consider persons with disabilities as subjects of rights and not just as social beneficiaries. According to UNESCO, the human right to education is the human right to an inclusive education.

Paulo Freire's has taught us that education is truly a practice of freedom. But a person can't have freedom in any of its dimensions (moral, political and legal), if education is not inclusive and of quality. In order for all people to have this freedom and autonomy, education must be guaranteed on equal terms and without any restriction.

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes the right to education for all individuals as a human right and, in order to achieve its full exercise, the Covenant determines, among other things, that higher education shall be made equally accessible to all individuals, on the basis of their capabilities, by every appropriate means. Along the same lines, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities establishes that States must ensure an inclusive education system at all levels, in order to make it effective without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity.

Inclusive education involves access, permanence and opportunities for progress under equal conditions. It also includes the development of accessible methodologies and contents that consider people with disabilities as part of human diversity. The inclusive education process requires research, resources and tools in order to achieve the full effectiveness of this right.

Although there has been notable progress in laws and public policies that advance educational inclusion, structural changes and awareness are still needed to advance especially in the right to higher education. There is enough evidence to indicate that students with disabilities experience the transition stage to university with insecurity, which can generate reasons for dropping out of their studies and/or barriers in the decision-making process. In this line, the CRPD Committee has established that "authorities at all levels must have the capacity, commitment and resources to implement laws, policies and programs to support inclusive education."

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fragility of the right to inclusive education and has shown once again the impact of inequality in education, leaving behind the most vulnerable population. It has also accelerated the need of pending changes such as digital transformation in the educational and higher education field.

Following the success of previous congresses, Fundación Once, through its Program with Universities and Talent Promotion Department, is launching the V International Congress on Universities and Disability. Due to the context of the health pandemic, the Congress will be celebrated online but will promote spaces that allow the participation, dialogue and interaction of numerous institutions and experts in the field. The goal of this Congress is to share ideas and good practices, to create debate on inclusive and quality education at the university, aiming to expand networks, share good practices and move towards an egalitarian society with social justice for all people, including people with disabilities. International experts, academics, researchers, policy makers and students with disabilities will invite to think about the future of universities and the challenges of inclusive education.

The V Congress will focus on the digital transformation of universities and on methodological transformations and innovative experiences to facilitate inclusion, in the context of the fast changes that are taking place in the post-pandemic society.

It will also continue with the work of our previous congresses, being a meeting place for networking, developing strategies and following good practices that allow us to progress in models of inclusive universities, prepared to meet the challenges proposed by the International Human Rights Treaties and the SDGs along with the 2030 Agenda.

This international congress is aimed at students, educators, researchers, education managers, policy makers, pedagogues and anyone interested in making education a human right for all people without discrimination and on equal terms.

We have the support and collaboration in the organization of the Ministries of Universities, the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030 and the Royal Board on Disability, the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI), CRUE and CERMI and the collaboration of institutions such as UNIVERSIA Foundation.



The main objective of the V International University and Disability Congress is to propose and discuss ideas on the best ways to reach inclusive education at the university in the context of the digital transformation and the new university models redesigned for this particular time.



  • To highlight international programs, strategies and progress being made in relation to inclusive and quality education at the higher education level.
  • To generate networking with researchers in the area of disability, education and accessible communication and information technologies.
  • To advance in the knowledge of universal accessibility and new digital learning tools and platforms, disseminating the latest research and experiences.
  • Facilitate tools in order that digital transformation in the university environment is carried out in a way that guarantees learning opportunities for all students.
  • To promote direct contact between the different protagonists to create and implement policies aimed at people with disabilities at the University, in order to combine strategies and establish agreements.
  • To advance in the inclusion and dissemination of the training curricula related to the design for all people in Graduate and Postgraduate Degrees and its impact on society.
  • Advance in proposals to improve entrepreneurship and employability of people with disabilities.
  • Analyze and propose new inclusion programs for groups with special difficulties of inclusion in the university environment such as young people with intellectual disabilities.



  • The International Forum on Inclusion and Equity in Education "Every Student Counts" (2019) sponsored by UNESCO on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Salamanca Statement, set out six recommendations for actions that should be taken to promote inclusion and equity in education systems. Among them was the establishment of clear definitions of what inclusion and equity in education mean.

    In recent years and in the wake of the COVID pandemic, the digital transformation processes in universities have accelerated. The aim is to discuss new models of university education, accessible technologies and strategies to keep promoting models of inclusive universities within the framework of digital transformation.

    Information and communication technologies are an essential tool for educational processes and can be great allies for inclusion as they can promote learning in easier and more agile ways in the case of sensory disabilities. Therefore, it is essential to analyze the accessibility of the technological applications used for education and learning processes.

  • In this space it is proposed to discuss barriers and advances in inclusive education, both at the international and regional level, as well as at the local level. It is proposed that the debate focus on accessibility and equal opportunities at the university and empirical data collected. In this regard, it will be possible to deal with the challenges faced in the exercise of the right to education and how good practices and experiences of accessible universities can be useful in guaranteeing this right. Following the recommendations of the aforementioned International Forum on Inclusion and Equity in Education, it is proposed to identify the contextual obstacles that prevent student participation and. It will also be important to know the progress and achievements made and the way forward.

  • Legal and political frameworks are necessary so that legal equality can be demanded and transformed into real and effective equality. In this panel, it is proposed to analyze the creation and adaptation of the necessary legislative frameworks in relation to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In parallel, to face the current economic crises, it is also proposed to discuss the need of sustainable funds, support resources and educational policies needed to achieve these goals.

    This is a space that is proposed so that the voices of the protagonists can be heard. Personal and professional experiences will be shared to highlight the progress achieved, which can serve as inspiration for other people and institutions.

    It is proposed to invite university students with disabilities, taking into account gender, sexual and racial diversity, to speak in first person. The idea of this space is to discuss the previous transition, the university present and the academic, professional and research future. It is also proposed to invite teachers to share their inclusive teaching experiences.


Working groups (WG) and presentation of papers:

  • WG1: Good practices of inclusive universities (contents and environments)
  • WG2: Universal Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning
  • WG3: Regulations, Public Policies and Inclusive Education
  • WG4: Employment, entrepreneurship and professional opportunities (Post-university)
  • WG5: Technologies applied to inclusive education: tools and experiences
  • WG6: Inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in the university environment



The congress will be celebrated in virtual sessions in European afternoons and Latin American mornings in order to facilitate the connection on both sides of the Atlantic.

There will be live sessions with discussions and dialogues on the most relevant topics. In addition, there will be pre-recorded messages and proposals from experts.

The Congress will also allow the presentation of papers and posters so that everyone has the opportunity to present their main works and research related to inclusive and quality education and the process of university inclusion