In order to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 pandemic, most governments across the world have taken measures to close the schools, resulting in temporary continuation of education from home. It became clear that different schooling forms critically impact students’ education and widen existing differences between students. This brought issues of educational justice and equal opportunity for all.
While many schools have risen to the challenge and developed effective distance learning forms, others have fallen behind, leaving some learners without access to quality education. Regarding students with disabilities, the UN states that the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated their exclusion from education and that they are least likely to benefit from distance learning solutions. Teachers had to adapt to new pedagogical concepts and teaching methodologies, without having any particular training or resources for including students with disabilities in distance learning.
Project “Digitalisation and Inclusive Education: Leaving no one behind in the digital era” (DigIn), is directed at the increased participation of students with disabilities in digital education. It’s focus on “Innovative practices in digital era” relates to the empowerment of teachers and nurturing of social inclusion.
• Designing and implementation of teacher training in digital competencies and in supporting students with disabilities in inclusive environments, during combined teaching or in times of distance learning.
• Optional teacher training after the duration of the project in a form of online resources.
• Development of resources for inclusion of students with disabilities in digital education, including videos, lessons and examples of good practice.
• Recommendations and guidelines for teachers to access the existing resources (communication platforms, learning applications, etc.) based on the criteria of universal design for learning and adequate pedagogical strategies.
DigIn project is being implemented by six partners from four countries: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy and Northern Macedonia. Three Universities, one primary school and two NGOs active in the area of inclusive education will participate in the project. Considering that the involved partners belong to varying levels of educational system, have different resources and experiences of including students with disabilities in digital education, comparison and exchange in the area of digitalisation and inclusive education will be possible.