MAJOR BOOST Colleges benefit from €12 million plan to make campuses more accessible for people with disabilities
Colleges will receive €12 million to create sensory rooms and make campuses more accessible for autistic and disabled students.
Higher Education Minister Simon Harris will launch a new initiative today to help disabled students.
Colleges across the country will receive €3 million to improve campus accessibility.
This includes wayfinding apps, signage, small capital works, and sensory rooms or quiet zones.
The funding can be used to train staff on inclusive teaching and assessment practices.
€3 million per year is expected until 2025 when the scheme will be evaluated.
Minister Harris said before the launch: “We’ve never tracked how many students with intellectual disabilities or autism finished third grade.
“These new proposals will let us assess how we’re doing, but we’ll also make policy changes to improve.”
Moreover, “Before approving these proposals, we looked at current events.
“There are examples of good practice in the system and encouraging signs of commitment to the extensive change required to make such programs successful.
“Despite the strong commitment, there are examples of unsustainable programs.
“The government is also seeking expertise to help the Department and HEA meet student needs.
“Today is a big day, and I appreciate everyone’s help in making it happen. This could help autistic and intellectually disabled students.
Minister Harris proposed letting students work longer hours while still receiving third-level grants to address staffing shortages in several sectors.
A student can earn €4,500 before losing their SUSI grant.
However, €6,500 could be added.
The limit prevents young people from working too many hours, which could harm their education.