- Every seventh person alive today – more than one billion people in total – live with some form of disability. Despite being so numerous, persons with disabilities are still overwhelmingly ignored in times of emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic according to the United Nations data.
- Destine members cooperate to address gaps through three stages: a social analysis of the VET needs, the creation of tools that adapt to the requirements previously discovered, and the design and implementation of Peer learning activity.
The 3rd of December, United Nations celebrates the International Day of Persons with disabilities. A date that aims to give visibility to all that vulnerable persons that have to face the daily routine with some handicaps. According to the United Nations data, 15 per cent of the population has a disability of which 80 per cent live in developed countries, a large ratio for which environments such as education should be prepared.
In the actual times, where digitalisation is part of our daily life, disabled people not only have to face the barriers of education but also the digital environment ones. For example, deaf or blind people may find online environment more problematic than other persons with different incapacities. As a result, teachers have to adapt to their barriers and provide a better and appropriate education.
The European Union trough associations such as the European Disability Forum, strive for equality and inclusiveness in all environments, a goal that DESTINE partners aim to achieve in the field of online VET education. The European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education release a report about the inclusive digital education context last October. This report shows some of the shortcomings that the e-environment has to face, not only from the perspective of the disabled, but also from the point of view of teachers or the different adaptations of the various educational systems that coexist across Europe.
Some of the challenges highlighted include the need for implementing a user-centred design approach, which embraces the concept of universal design is a promising way to avoid disadvantages such as poor usability. From the teachers’ perspective, it seems that they need support in selecting inclusive teaching materials that present no or few barriers and are suitable for all learners. Full adaptation of the different educational organisations is needed to bring all their processes into the digital domain.
Challenges that DESTINE members have already pointed out during the phase dedicated to the research of the gaps to be improved. A struggle that aims to be overcome so that inclusiveness, tolerance and accessibility are implicit features in all areas.
In a context marked by recent technological changes, shifts in global economic power, accelerating urbanization and demographic changes, coupled with the importance of digital as recently highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic; the DESTINE project, funded by the Erasmus + programme, responds to the challenge of addressing the issues of inclusion, diversity and tolerance in the online and distance learning environment. Specifically, the project aims to develop and improve the skills and competences of teachers, trainers and mentors in the field of inclusion and diversity as applied to e-learning.
About ERASMUS +
Erasmus+ 2021-2027 is the European Union’s renewed programme in the fields of education and training, youth and sport, offering opportunities for all people and in all education sectors (School Education, Professional Training, Higher Education and Adult Education). This new Erasmus+ is more international, more inclusive, more digital and greener, supporting digital transformation, inclusion and diversity, as well as the environment and the fight against climate change. With a budget of more than €28 billion, it will fund learning-related mobility and cross-border cooperation projects for 10 million people of all ages and from all backgrounds.
“This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”