Inclusive education, the network of thirteen Lombard universities turns 10

A training project for teaching staff is underway

A shared and multidisciplinary training project on inclusive education aimed at teaching staff and aimed at promoting an active commitment of the entire academic community towards the construction of university contexts capable of fostering academic success and the quality of the educational experience for all.

This is the project announced for the next few years by Cald, the Coordination of the Lombard Universities for Disability and Specific Learning Disorders (Dsa) that today – coinciding with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities – in the lecture hall of the University of Milan-Bicocca took stock of its first ten years of activity and the future prospects of its mission, starting from experience gained in the field, from the scientific reflections and operational planning of the thirteen universities that make up the Cald.

Del Cald includes the delegates of the rectors for disability of: Humanitas University, Liuc – Cattaneo University, Milan Polytechnic, Bocconi University of Milan, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, University of Insubria, University of Bergamo, University of Brescia, University of Milan, University of Milan-Bicocca, University of Pavia, Iulm University of Milan and Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.

The numbers and the round table

In Lombardy, in the last ten years, the number of university students with disabilities and Dsa is more than fivefoldor, going from 1,928 in 2011 to 10,201 in 2021. Specifically, students with disabilities enrolled in the thirteen universities participating in the Cald went from 1,632 in 2011 to 3,086 in 2021. Students with DSA enrolled went from 296 ten years ago to 7,115 today.

After the institutional greetings of the rector of the University of Milano-Bicocca, Giovanna Iannantuoni, the councilor for education, university research innovation and simplification of the Lombardy Region, Fabrizio Sala, the director of the regional school office, Augusta Celada, and the CALD coordinator, Roberta Garbo, the event opened with a round table entitled “Dimensions of inclusive teaching at the University”. In addition to the rector of Milano-Bicocca, the president of the Crui and rector of the Polytechnic, Ferruccio Resta, and the rectors of the University of Milan, Elio Franzini, of the University of Pavia, Francesco Svelto, of the University of Bergamo, Sergio Cavalieri, University of Brescia, Maurizio Tira, and Liuc – Cattaneo University, Federico Visconti, who answered questions regarding the regulatory aspects, funding, strategies and actions undertaken by universities to focus on the cultural and operational resources necessary to promote truly inclusive teaching at the university.

The project

Responding with care and competence to the profiles, needs and expectations of female students and students becomes an increasingly crucial issue, within the framework of the overall didactic choices of the Universities of Cald. The numerical importance is associated with a cultural and methodological challenge that the experience of the pandemic has brought to everyone’s attention: the need to find innovative approaches, strategies and educational solutions that are able to integrate different ways of building, sharing and using knowledge contents , within the disciplinary teachings in universities.

The choice to use a multiplicity of channels, languages ​​and ways of presenting information can allow us to get out of the current dilemma “in presence / at a distance” in an evolutionary and coherent way, building increasingly welcoming learning communities, attentive to the issues of inclusion and social participation. The multiple activities of the Services and professionals that accompany the paths of the female students most at risk of academic failure and social exclusion constitute a precious resource for inclusive education training for the entire academic body.

The skills acquired in the design of advanced organizational, technological and educational solutions, the result of a constant and personalized dialogue with the teachers, the conductors of the laboratories and the internship tutors involved in the various courses of study, have allowed over the years to trace training courses aimed at enriching relational and methodological skills, contributing to the quality of the training experience in its various components.

The collaborative development of the project presented during the round table of the CALD delegates started from these reflections. The four dimensions (Right to study, Organization of the context, Advanced technological solutions, Innovative teaching approaches) analyzed in the round table of the Coordinators, constitute the conceptual framework from which a series of inclusive didactic training courses depart, based on the specificity of the different disciplinary areas present in the 13 Universities.

The proposal, built on the basis of the multidisciplinary scientific skills present in the Cald working group and aimed at figures engaged in various capacities in teaching, aims to promote an active commitment of the entire academic community towards the construction of university contexts capable of promoting academic success and the quality of the educational experience for all.