This morning AHEAD will launch the Charter on Inclusive Teaching and Learning. You can download a copy here (see link at end of page)

Here’s our statement released last night:

Charter on Inclusive Teaching and Learning seeks to create a more equal world for students with disabilities

The Charter of Inclusive Teaching and Learning is being launched by Dr. Mary Liz Trant of the HEA on 3rd November 2009 in the Clarence Hotel. Produced by AHEAD (the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability) the Charter is endorsed by the Irish Universities Association, the National Access Office, the Irish Universities Quality Board, the Teachers Union of Ireland and the Disability Advisors Working Network and  Access Officers .

The Charter lays out the minimum components required for inclusive education, in all aspects of teaching and learning in higher education institutions. It strives to describe and encourage the good practices that should be consistently delivered across all third level education to all students, as opposed to the current situation where individuals are setting excellent examples of such practice, in patches across the country.

These practices are proven to work, not only for students with disabilities, but for all students.  Applications from students with disabilities and specific learning difficulties to higher education institutions are surging, with an increase up of 25% each year.  There are now over 4,000 students with disabilities studying in higher education and these students can learn and want to learn but they learn differently, for example by using e-books and other technology to read and write.

Ann Heelan, Director of AHEAD said “The biggest barrier to making changes stick is stereotypical assumptions by some staff who fail to see the potential behind the disability or appreciate the need to alter the way they teach.   The challenge for institutions is to change how they operate so they have the capacity to meet the different learning requirements of a diverse group of students. In the current economic climate this approach improves the quality of our teaching but has little or no additional costs.”