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The research consists of a holistic assessment of existing European initiatives that contribute to improving the mobility of disabled students in the context of higher education and Lifelong Learning in Europe. It looks at the opportunities offered by the European Commission’s education and training initiatives, especially the Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci and Marie Curie programmes, and how they can improve disabled students’ mobility. It describes Fundación ONCE’s participation in a Marie Curie RTN with a disabled researcher in the field of Accessible Technology in the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The current legislative and normative framework is analysed, with especial attention being paid to the European Mandate 420 guidelines on accessibility requirements for procurement in the built environment. This section analyses the innovation introduced by the Spanish Law 4/2007 on Universities regarding accessibility to facilities and information, with Fundación ONCE’s “Info-accessibility Plans for Universities”. Finally, it stresses the importance of electronic accessibility and accessible eLearning initiatives in mainstreaming disabled people in the European Higher Education Area and overcoming the existing barriers that limit disabled students’ mobility. This section presents the good practice case of the Online Master in Accessible Technologies, sponsored by Fundación ONCE, and which in the past two years has trained over 100 disabled students over an accessible eLearning platform, enhancing their opportunities for finding work in Spain’s technology sector.
Finally, it highlights the variety of existing initiatives aimed at improving disabled students’ mobility in Europe, pointing out that for such initiatives to have an optimum impact it is still necessary to improve the co-ordination between the Commission’s initiatives and the Member States, guaranteeing access to the physical space through European and national legislation, and boosting electronic accessibility to ensure full integration of disabled students in the knowledge society.