Jun 02, 2021

More than 100 participants from Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic took part in the 3rd Online Training of the ACCESS Project, organized on May 26 and 31, 2021. The workshop was delivered by the University of Macedonia (Greece), combining face-to-face methodology via virtual meeting and reflections in groups through autonomous work in guided practices on scientific and informative material previously prepared in emotional intelligence applied to students with disabilities and the application of the social model of disability within the educational environment. These trainings are especially aimed at the members of the support centers for students with disabilities, academic professionals and key service personnel of the partner Higher Education Institutions as well as representatives from the Ministries of Higher Education of the ACCESS consortium member countries. They are main stakeholders of Higher Education system who should become driving forces behind the construction of a more inclusive and open university space for all in the Higher Education Institutions of Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and in general throughout the whole Latin America.

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The first session imparted on March 26 by Dr. Athina Danilidou and Eftychia Sidira from the University of Macedonia addressed the concept of emotional intelligence through a basic theoretical education and a broad experiential exposure to the development of the skills necessary to work, listen and facilitate the inclusion of students with disabilities during their educational journey. The training was supported by audiovisual material and the direct experiences of partners themselves who participated interactively, sharing the conclusions of their reflections.

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During the second session focused on analyzing the details of the social model of disability applied to the field of Higher Education, the partners of the ACCESS consortium worked with Dr. Lefkothea Kartasidou and Dr. Varvara Vamvoura to study in depth the social model of disability, its differences with the medical model as well as the implications for the day-to-day life in university classrooms for students with disabilities. For this session, audiovisual materials, interactive questionnaires and the explanation of the members of the conclusions of their group work were also provided. In this way, the more than 100 participants benefited from a first-class training in the field of inclusion and disability with an evident focus on higher education, which will enable the university communities of Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic to build educational spaces more inclusive, accessible and fair for all, especially for students with disabilities throughout the Caribbean and Latin America and without leaving anyone behind.

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The ACCESS project / "Promotion of accessibility of students with disabilities to Higher Education in Cuba, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic" is a Key Action 2 of the Erasmus + program: Cooperation for innovation and exchange of good practices: Strengthening capacities in higher education, co-financed by the European Commission. The general objective of the ACCESS project is to improve accessibility, guarantee learning conditions and promote the change of policies towards the inclusion of students with disabilities in the context of the Higher Education system in Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic through modern practices of inclusion, training and networking. ACCESS will be implemented over the next 3 years and it is expected to return to face-to-face actions as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic allows it.