This is a three year project due to finish in 2018. The central objective of the project is to support the de-institutionalisation of people with disabilities across Europe through adult and community education. Overall, the most relevant horizontal priority related to the objectives is to ‘reduce disparities in learning outcomes affecting disadvantaged learners’. This project aims to reduce disparities in learning outcomes for learners with disabilities, in particular by supporting people to participate in non-formal high quality educational opportunities that are built around their personal educational needs. In addition, the project activities go further by targeting staff, adult educators and the communities to meet the need to re-integrate people with disabilities who have been institutionalised in society or are at a stage of transition.
The second priority selected is to ‘improve and extend the offer of high quality learning opportunities tailored to individual adult learners, including through innovative ways of outreach’. In this instance, the adult learner is the person with a disability, mainly intellectual. Often formal education opportunities are out of reach to adult learners with disabilities and the educational programmes and curriculum have been designed at too high a level or without taking into consideration their needs or interests. This project aims to breach that barrier by tailoring educational programmes across partner countries to the needs of the individual learner, using interesting and innovative methodology. The target group includes the most vulnerable who are people living in institutions or who are in a transitional phase within the community. Therefore, the training is very much focused on developing basic skills around independent living and transition training to support successful re-integration in the community and citizen engagement. The use of the train the trainer model is innovative in itself with people with disabilities being trained in selected European countries to deliver training to other people with disabilities or adult educations and community service providers.
The last priority selected is the development of ‘adult educator’s competences’. The fact remains that structural and attitudinal barriers still exist to prevent people with disabilities from accessing courses offered through adult education in mainstream settings. Adult and community educators, staff, family and the community at large can make broad assumptions on a person’s capacity or ability to participate. Therefore, this project has also built in activities around challenging these assumptions among the wider circles of support of people with disabilities. In particular, they include the staff from the institutions or disability service providers and the adult and community educators themselves.