Target 6: Strategic Goal 2 of the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, Strategic Plan 2010 - 2013 outlines details of a collaboration with CKI (Community Knowledge Initiative) and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies to develop a pilot project to include people with intellectual disability in third level education in NUI Galway, guided by UNESCO’s guidelines on inclusive education.
In August 2009, UNESCO Chair, Professor Pat Dolan, championed an initiative to support the civic engagement of people with intellectual disabilities through access to higher education at NUI Galway. A project group was formed to support this initiative including representatives from NUIG (UNESCO Chair in Youth and Civic Engagement, the Community Knowledge Initiative, the Child and Family Research Centre, the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, Law Department, Disability Support Service, etc.), parents and families, National Federation of Voluntary Bodies and intellectual disability service providers (Ability West, Brothers of Charity Clare, Brothers of Charity Galway, Brothers of Charity Roscommon and Western Care, SOS Kilkenny) and HSE. Links will also be developed with Employment champions. A number of meetings of the project group have been held to date and agreement has been reached to develop a pilot project at NUI Galway and have a number of students enrol in September 2011.
Hearing the voices of people with intellectual disabilities and parents/families
10 Focus groups for people with intellectual disabilities and 6 focus groups with parents and families have been facilitated by the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies (Breda Casey, Edel Tierney, Orla Kelly & Alison Harnett), Parent & Family Representative (Peggy Ryan) and NUI Galway (Carmel Devaney & Lorraine McIlrath) so that people can have an opportunity to voice their views and opinions on the proposed pilot project at NUI Galway. The knowledge gained from these focus groups will be crucial to the rollout of a pilot that meets the needs of the students with intellectual disabilities.
NUI Galway commitment
NUI Galway as part of its strategic commitment to civic engagement, experiential learning, access for non-traditional learners, community and the attainment of a diverse student body, is well positioned to offer and pilot this third level initiative for people with intellectual disabilities. The initiative will be specific to the needs of stakeholders in the west of Ireland and will draw upon NUIG’s unique strengths in such centres as the CKI, the UNESCO Chair, the Heuston School of Film, to mention a few.
Following completion of the pilot, an evaluation of the project will be carried out including an examination of the potential to widen access to mainstream 3rd level education at NUI Galway for people with intellectual disabilities.
Capacity for Project
Support for capacity to drive this project forward and to develop the proposed pilot project is being provided by NUI Galway. Breda Casey from the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies will work with NUI Galway 3 days per week to co-ordinate the project.
If you would like to see further details of the project you can view a presentation here which was made to the NUI Galway Colloquium on Disability Law and Policy on 27 April 2010.
For further information please contact Breda Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.