The Government has declared offering 3 million euros to third-level institutions to make practices and campuses more inclusive. Later, Simon Harris, minister for Further and Higher education, disclosed that one of the two initiatives is to ensure easy access to third-level education for students with intellectual disabilities and autism.
The first initiative worth €3m will commence in September and will be distributed among publicly funded colleges and universities. The purpose of this initiative is to introduce inclusive designs on the campuses to create opportunities and provide support to students with intellectual disabilities student. In Fact, Mr Harris called this action to "lay the foundation" for more inclusive university campuses.
On Thursday, at the launch, even at Trinity College Dublin, the minister mentioned that the declared amount might be implemented for student awareness campaigns, sensory space, staff training or technology for teaching in a different way. The tools planned to be introduced will make their college experience more inclusive and improve the success rate of autistic students thriving in the third level.
The worth of the second initiative can go to a further €3m each year for the next three years. Further, the Department of Further and Higher Education expects to see a proposal from colleges and universities here; they can suggest the best academic support that can be given to them to enhance their education. They promise that they will accordingly distribute their funding.
Mr Harris even stated that in case he does not see a college or university not putting forward an idea, he will take them to be "terribly unambitious” He further called it to be an initial step. He even revealed that a National Access Plan would be announced at the end of the month. This is the first time improvement on education access for people with intellectual disabilities is going to be prioritised – My Harris said.
Anne Rabbitte, the Disability minister, called the €3m funding to be “transformative”. The director of access and lifelong learning at University College Dublin even mentioned the funding as a total "game changer" Her response to the funding was very positive. She felt the funding will allow the education system to treat all students equitable. And she is delighted with the learning experience that is finally universally designed to meet the needs of every student.