NUI Galway recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with representatives from the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies and intellectual disability service providers including Ability West, Brothers of Charity Services Galway, Brothers of Charity Services Roscommon and Western Care. The Memorandum of Understanding outlines the partner’s strong commitment to the ‘Going to College’ initiative at NUI Galway and their agreement to provide direct funding for the coming academic year.
‘Going to College’ is a pioneering higher education initiative, supporting the full inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities at NUI Galway. Students are registered full-time students and are fully included in all class activities. Students also have opportunities to undertake meaningful work placement and volunteering opportunities that will enrich their lives into the future.
Aiming to support each student to develop the vision, knowledge and transferrable skills to live a more independent, inclusive life after university, the ‘Going to College’ initiative is underpinned by a rights base and recognises the strengths and potential of each student to achieve in a mainstream higher education environment. Consistent with UNESCO’s principles for inclusion in education and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it promotes citizenship, inclusion and participation, with a focus on the will and preferences of each individual student.
Professor Pat Dolan, Director, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, said: “This is a significant development for NUI Galway and for students with intellectual disabilities and their families. We warmly welcome the strong university/community partnership forged with intellectual disability service providers today. Our aim is to provide each student with opportunities to engage in the full college experience here at NUI Galway, to broaden their social networks and undertake meaningful work placement and volunteering opportunities that will enrich their lives into the future. This partnership with our community partners will provide a very strong foundation in achieving this aim.”
Anne Geraghty, Director of Services with Brothers of Charity Galway, said: “Just like many people of their age, young people with intellectual disability have hopes and dreams about going to college, learning new things, making new friends and becoming part of the whole college experience. The ‘Going to College’ project supports this to happen, and the Brothers of Charity Services Galway is delighted to partner with NUI Galway.”
Breda Crehan-Roche, Chief Executive with Ability West, said: “We are delighted to support the ‘Going to College’ project. This project is unique in that it is fully integrated in the college as students with intellectual disability are recognised as students and they are supported and encouraged to take part in all mainstream college activities.”
For further information on the Going to College initiative contact Breda Casey, Going to College Co-ordinator, NUI Galway, at firstname.lastname@example.org.