DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVES OF THE WORK GROUPS
|Working Group 1
Reflections and proposals on inclusive university. Best inclusion practices for students with disabilities in higher education. Resources and inclusive activities
Universities must perform the social role with which they are entrusted, adapting to new realities and social needs. In this sense, they must respond to the new demands of society, including ensuring access, admission, continuity and exercise of rights of all persons on an equal basis. In the fulfilment of this Convention mandate, considerable progress has been made in terms of resources and policies to enforce the rights of students with disabilities. Both Spain and other countries in Europe and the World have sponsored programs and specific actions aimed at students with disabilities, including specific disability support services and professionals working in universities who provide advice and support. However, inclusive universities represent a constant challenge and require an ongoing process of change and adaptation. It is therefore important to have this knowledge and put forward ideas, strategies and best practices.
At the same time, universities are promoting works and research projects to advance proposals and strategies to improve accessibility and the lives of persons with disabilities, which are worth knowing and disseminating.
- Understand and disseminate positive experiences of Universities that promote the inclusion of students with disabilities.
- Promote the quality improvement of disability support services in Universities through the knowledge of new strategies and tools, facilitating the exchange of ideas and participation of the people involved.
- Exchange models and best practices on different programs and actions that have an impact on the support of university students with disabilities.
- Understand and disseminate research that promote knowledge and improve the lives of persons with disabilities.
|Working Group 2
Curricular Accessibility and Inclusive Sport
Policies, measures and strategies to facilitate accessibility in all areas of university life.
Universal Accessibility and Design for All is a legally binding principle accepted by all countries to ensure, among other things, the participation of all persons in the education system and the learning systems. Promote the design, development, production and distribution of information systems and technologies and accessible communications to make these systems and technologies accessible at the lowest cost; it is therefore a new pedagogical approach and a challenge for all institutions, also for Universities. At university level, curricula should also include, where appropriate, teachings related to Human Rights and principles of Universal Accessibility and Design for All.
At the same time, and in compliance with the Convention, it is necessary to make reasonable adjustments in tests and processes and ensure the accessibility of all students to all activities developed at university level, including adapted sports and cultural and leisure activities. However, we often encounter obstacles and barriers that prevent full participation, hence the importance of having positive experiences and proposals for change and improvement.
- Understand and disseminate best practices of curricular accessibility.
- Advance in the inclusion and dissemination of the Design for All criteria in Graduate and Postgraduate Studies and their impact on society.
- Promote that curricula designed by Universities take account that training for any professional activity must be done from the respect and promotion of Human Rights and equal opportunities for all people.
- Know best practices and successful experiences regarding the inclusion of Universal Accessibility and Design for All in training curricula of Graduate and Postgraduate Studies.
- Understand and disseminate studies and academic research on Universal Accessibility and Design for All.
- Learn practices and experiences regarding the promotion of inclusive sport at university level.
| Working Group 3
Competencies, Employability, Employment and Inclusion Support Programs
Experiences and programs to improve employability and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in skilled jobs and managerial positions.
Labour integration is the last step in the university system to promote personal and professional development of young university students. This has been understood by Universities, which provide students with counselling and employment promotion services to support the start of a new stage in their lives.
In the case of persons with disabilities, recent reports show that they have less access to external academic practice, mobility programs and other initiatives that improve their employability. It is therefore important to know and implement specific measures to increase labour inclusion and improve the ability to find technical and highly skilled jobs. At the same time, there is an increasing number of socially responsible companies committed to disability and to the recruitment of persons with disabilities as part of their human resources policies to promote diversity. It is therefore important to know and design strategies and initiatives to improve employability as well as their training and learning needs that ultimately result in a greater labour inclusion of this group.
- Disseminate studies and research that allow us to better understand the social and labour reality of university students with disabilities.
- Present examples of best practices in coordinating the various services involved in the transition process from University to Employment, job orientation services, disability support services, etc.
- Promote and disseminate programs and actions to improve the employability of university students and alumni with disabilities through the provision of advice and support to develop their professional skills.
- Identify best practices of labour inclusion for students with disabilities by companies and institutions globally.
- Make coaching proposals and other orientation strategies to improve the skills and abilities of university students to find opportunities in new employments.
|Working Group 4
Regulatory Framework and Legislative Demands
Analysis and legislative proposals to improve the guarantee of access rights and promotion of persons with disabilities in the university and the knowledge society
The implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has required regulatory changes in all countries that, as Spain, have ratified it. Education has been guaranteed through relevant laws and an inclusive education system that focuses on the diversity of educational needs of students with disabilities by regulating support and making the necessary adjustments. New regulatory frameworks are being applied to University and the right of access to higher education, although there are still challenges and needs remains for regulatory adjustments to ensure full enjoyment of equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, both regarding access to education and promotion and the academic and research career of persons with disabilities. The aim is to have new regulatory frameworks that enable progress towards an inclusive education and society with new proposals to further advance in the implementation of guarantees and effective policies.
- Understand and disseminate innovative legislative proposals in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- Analyse the impact of the Convention in the field of education.
- Make proposals to improve the actual and effective enforcement of current regulations.
- Analyse and propose measures to ensure and promote the right of university students to academic and research careers.
|Working Group 5
Technological Innovations for Education and Learning
Relevance of ICTs to improve teaching and learning processes and their accessibility.
According to the World Health Organization, the education systems need to adopt more student-focused approaches, with changes to the curriculum, methods and teaching materials to create inclusive learning environments. In this sense, there is increasing evidence that pedagogical approaches to address the learning needs of each student in a more personalised way are an effective tool to support the inclusion of persons with disabilities in education. Universal Learning Design is one such approach that helps to keep up the challenge of diversity suggesting flexible instructional materials, techniques and strategies where ICTs undoubtedly have gained prominence. At university level, the incorporation of technologies has been remarkable in the recent years and it is essential that their design follows the criteria of Universal Accessibility and Design for All in order to avoid the exclusion of persons with disabilities which would create a new technological gap.
In this regard, Universities must ensure, in addition to the physical accessibility of buildings and facilities, the accessibility of virtual spaces including websites, applications, tools and teaching formats so that students with disabilities have the same conditions and opportunities in terms of training and information access.
- Know the impact of ICTs on university students with disabilities, contributing to improve their quality of life.
- Identify best practices in the design and use of ICTs to improve the academic performance of students with disabilities and their assessment.
- Assess the importance of accessibility to information on teaching and learning processes.
- Introduce tools, applications and programs that facilitate access to information and communication.