Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today published a new report on the educational inclusion of learners with intellectual disabilities.
The report examines the support to learners with intellectual disabilities as they undergo their educational journey and recommends a framework for Universal Design for Learning in Further Education and Training.
Among the other recommendations are:
- greater support for tutors working with those with intellectual disabilities;
- consideration to be given to publish data should about the number of adult learners with intellectual disabilities in FET programmes;
- and a greater use of the role of assistive technology in supporting learning including additional training and support for ETB staff .
Minister Harris said: “I would like to thank SOLAS, the Education and Training Boards, our National Adult Literacy Agency and Maynooth University for their hard work supporting this critical work.
“Inclusion is one of my Department’s six strategic goals in our recently published Statement of Strategy. Inclusive further and higher education is everybody’s business, and it will remain a key policy focus for the Department in the coming years. I really want to thank learners for sharing their experience with us and ensuring your voice is heard and your calls for change are accepted.”
In 2018 SOLAS, in partnership with NALA and ETBI, produced the Guidelines on the Inclusion of Learners with Intellectual Disabilities in Adult Literacy Services, to ensure that people with an intellectual disability could fully participate in Education and Training Boards adult education services.
Minister Harris added: “We fully recognise that people with intellectual disabilities are not a homogeneous group but individuals with diverse strengths, interests and needs.
“We must continue to work together with our stakeholders and critically, working together with learners, including learners with intellectual disabilities, to improve our working with and supporting all learners continuously.”
Colleen Dube, Chief Executive Officer of NALA, complimented the research team and all the participants who took part in this research project on behalf of SOLAS and ETBI, and highlighted the commitment to learners evident in ETBs.
Colleen Dube said: “The research report and case studies provide a timely and renewed focus on the inclusion of learners with intellectual disabilities in the ETB Adult Literacy service.
“It acknowledges the excellent practices already in place, while offering recommendations on how the Adult Literacy Service can be further supported to meet the needs of learners.
“Literacy is a human right, not only does it provide access to richer educational experiences, it also opens so many other opportunities in further education and training for all learners. NALA was delighted to undertake this important project which included a mixed method of research methods to achieve our aim of identifying and exploring practices of inclusion of learners with intellectual disabilities in the ETB Adult Literacy Service in Ireland.”
Read the report