Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today announced a £500,000 increase to funding, aimed at helping students with learning difficulties or disabilities studying in further education colleges.
The ‘Additional Support Fund’ is allocated to colleges to help provide the additional technical and personal support needed by students with disabilities, to access further education.
Dr Farry said: “This increase in funding for students with learning difficulties or disabilities demonstrates my commitment to creating greater equality of opportunity and widening participation for everyone in Northern Ireland.
“The additional funding emphasises the importance that I, and my Department, place on ensuring that people with disabilities are given every chance to access the many opportunities which further education has to offer.”
Technical support includes specialised enabling equipment, such as braillers, Reading Edge equipment, IT adaptations, specialist software and related licences and IT hardware, hearing loops and conference folders.
Personal support includes specialist tutors/advisers, such as hearing or visual impairment tutors, speech therapists, IT advisers, interpreters (for students with a hearing impairment), support workers/classroom assistants and note-takers.
The overall level of support available for students with learning difficulties or disabilities will be increased from £1.5million to £2million per year. The funding will be available to colleges immediately, to support students in the 2013/14 academic year.
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