Persons with intellectual disabilities working as university lecturers
- Institute for Inclusive Education
- Country of Implementation
- Western Europe
- Start Year
- First published
“We provide unique knowledge that no one else has, and can best tell what it is like to live with a disability. This allows us to overcome prejudices and break down barriers.” Laura Schwörer, Educational Specialist, Institute for Inclusive Education
Universities teach about people with disabilities, but they do not do so with disabled people themselves. People with intellectual disabilities are almost totally excluded from the university education system.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The Institut für Inklusive Bildung (Institute for Inclusive Education) qualifies people with intellectual disabilities and provides them with job opportunities, mostly teaching about the specific requirements of people with intellectual disabilities. Following an intensive three-year seminar (2013 to 2016), the first graduates will start their teaching job as education specialist (“Bildungsfachkraft”) at the University of Kiel in the fall of 2016. They will teach regular seminars, special coursework, and hold lectures. Moreover, they will teach in high schools, speak at conferences, and conduct workshops. They will work independently, and will plan and conduct their teaching job in an autonomous way.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The overall cost for the five participants over the three years of course work was €360,000 per year. The institute has contacts to more than 25 third-level education facilities in Germany and abroad to further promote the issue. In the long run, the institute seeks to educate and graduate 30 to 35 such educational specialists. The model of the Institut für Inklusive Bildung is receiving more attention each year. During approximately 40 public lectures, more than 2,000 people came into direct contact with the topic. In addition, a study group promoted this theme in the United Kingdom, and media coverage has further increased public awareness of the project.
THE STORY OF MARCO RESCHAT, EDUCATION SPECIALIST
“I teach Inclusive Education at universities.”
My name is Marco Reschat and I am 32 years old. I was born with a so-called open spine (spina bifida) and water on the brain (hydrocephalus), which has resulted in various health restrictions and learning difficulties. I am also confined to a wheelchair. However, I have also become quite purposeful and persevering, for I have often been marginalized and have learned that not many things in life are handed to you unless you fight for them. My aim is to raise awareness for the needs and capacities of people with disabilities in order for them to be taken seriously and appreciated. There should be no more reservations about interacting with us, nor any doubts about our competences. We must remove the barriers that exist in the mind. This is why I have completed a three-year qualification process to become an education specialist. Previously, I worked for 14 years in a workshop for people with disabilities. Now I teach at colleges and universities to communicate first-hand experiences of the lives of people with disabilities to students, teachers, and managers. As an education specialist and as part of an academic community, I make a valuable contribution towards Inclusive Education. Therefore, the Institute for Inclusive Education, which is an affiliate of Kiel University, has offered me permanent employment, and I can now live on my own salary.