PROJECT

The Project

EU_flag_009LEAP!
Learning Path for Disabled Young Adult

The goal of LEAP! is to form a European network of professionals, such as special education teachers, researchers, social workers, social pedagogues, nurses and their teachers working among adults with special needs and to learn from their experience. Initially the project is developed est_logoin the following countries: Finland, Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey and United Kindgom.

RATIONALE

In “Its never too late to learn” (European Commission, 2006) it is stated that Ā«adult learning is a vital component of EU education policies as it is essential to competitiveness and employability, social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development across Europe. The challenge is to provide opportunities for all, especially the most disadvantaged groups who need learning mostĀ».

Participation of disadvantaged people to all kinds of adult training (formal or non-formal) is much lower than the rest of the adult population. The boundaries and barriers to participation are clear and visible; there are not enough support measures for adult learners with special needs. This is often due to lack of funding. The staff working with adults with special needs are always not trained or aware how to recognize the special needs among their students / customers. There is also lack of training material.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning among special needs students is practically non-existent, thus disabling them flexible learning paths and access to life long learning. Guidance and counseling procedures and services are inadequate and insufficient. Also the training providers often discard the special needs students as ineligible in the enrolment process and there are few separate entry routes designed for them. There is also lack of professional networks and cross sectoral co-operation between the stakeholders.

A common understanding among the professionals working in the field of special education is that education should be a fundamental right for all people. Also, it is of utmost importance that the public authorities guarantee equal opportunity to access to further education according to the customers’ needs despite of economic restraints.

This project aims at adding to the understanding and professionalization of people working with special needs customers. The goal is to be able to pinpoint the most urgent issues in special education in each country and try to encourage and stimulate professionals to take the LEAP of faith!

OBJECTIVES

Objectives of the partnership is to collect, disseminate and study:

1. National strategies and policies regarding adults with special needs

2. Training materials specially designed for adults with special needs

3. Good practices and cases of learning path development towards independent living, studying and working

4. results from development projects, both national and EU funded

5. Create a sustainable network of professionals working with adults with special needs

6. Discuss the possibilities and practices of validation of non-formal and informal learning among adults with special needs

7. Make a proposal for guidelines for methods, practices and procedures of efficient learning path development for adults with special needs (guidelines to be developed in a future project)

8. Initiate a Grundtvig multilateral project based on the results of this Learning Partnership

 

IMPACT

Impact on different target groups

1. Adults with special needs

2. Staff working with adults with special needs

3. The participating organisations

 

1. Adults with special needs

  • Will benefit from this project in terms of new, more flexible, innovative learning paths towards independent living, studying and/or working.
  • Will also benefit from new fit-to-purpose training materials if they are learners in an educational organisation.
  • Will benefit from more competent staff, which is more aware of their needs and of the possible solutions to provide for their needs.

 

2. Staff working with adults with special needs

  • will have an instant access to consult a European network of professionals
  • Will learn new approaches in terms of methodology, use of material, processes etc.
  • Will be more aware of the policies (both on a European as well as on national level) that steer the systems and processes regarding adults with special needs (be it training or other forms of interaction).
  • Will have access to learning materials.
  • Will be capable of better managing the development of learning paths of the target group.
  • Will be engaged in a sustainable European development process regarding the adults with special needs.

 

3. The participating organisations

  • will benefit from more competent staff who can perform better in their work
  • will have access to new tools, materials and methodologies
  • will have access to a professional network, and networks of their networks
  • will be more competent in developing new strategies and approved practices with the help of their staff
  • Will have more competence in affecting the policymaking on a regional / national level regarding adults with special needs (due to better understanding of the policies and approaches in different countries and on a European level).

 

SUBJECTS AND PROBLEMS ADDRESSED BY LEAP! LEARNING PARTNERSHIP

Questions

Answers

Lack of knowledge of the European good practices regarding adults with special needs Increasing knowledge and understanding
Lack of knowledge of the special needs strategies and policies in different countries Developing a better understanding of the underpinning strategies and the different points of emphasis regarding adults with special needs
Lack of networking between professionals working with adults with special needs. Developing a sustainable network of professionals from various fields (teachers, trainers, teacher trainers, social workers, researchers etc. working with adults with special needs)
Lack of co-operation between relevant stakeholders, both nationally and on the European level Stimulating co-operation and common understanding among relevant stakeholders
Lack of understanding how to incorporate adults with special needs to the Life Long Learning process Developing methods of validation of non-formal and informal learning

 

APPROACH

 

1. Exchanging good practices, case studies and materials.

2. Arranging seminars on the issues of special needs.

3. Study visits.

4. Discussing European approach on adults with special needs.

5. Discussing national approaches on adults with special needs.

6. Creating a virtual discussion forum for the network of professionals.

7. Creating a data bank for policies and good practices and training materials.