General introduction:

DOF is an association for free evening schools in Denmark, and represent 250 member-associations over the whole country.

DOFs members offer all kind of subjects as non-formal education primary for adults > 18 years and up.

The non-formal education is regulated by the law called “Folkeoplysnings-loven”.

The law is based on 4 fundamental rights:

1)    The free participation

2)    The free choice of subject – with a very few exceptions

3)    The free right to establish an association to offer this kind of non-formal  education and receive Municipality subsidy

4)    The free right for the association to choose qualified teachers – also teachers without formal education

All the activities are financed by Municipality subsidy and participants own payment.

The Municipality can support the cost for teachers and leaders with maximum 1/3. Though up to 8/9 when the activity is for persons who are disabled in relation to the concrete subject, so the class can have fewer participants.

The wage for teachers and leaders are regulated by an executive order from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

The Minister of Cultural Affairs has a pool to subsidy some of the extra costs for some persons with disability e.g. for transportation, wire loop, sign language translation etc. – Unfortunately the pool is too small. 

What is inclusion?

This chapter is not written yet, but should be a general chapter in the final report.

About inclusive education:

Because participants have to pay app. 3-4 € pr. hour, we are acting in a “non-formal educational marked” so we need to have a flexible attitude to inclusive education.  

In DOF we work with inclusive education on 3 levels:

1)    All kind of subjects must be accessible also for persons with disability

2)    As far as possible the education should be organized in inclusive classes

3)    If inclusive education for pedagogical reasons make no sense, the education should as far as possible be organized in an inclusive environment

Some examples of subjects:

All kind of subjects accepted under this law is also accessible for persons with disability. Subjects could be related to health, music, IT, language, leisure, hobby, personal development, artistic activities, literature, history etc. etc.

Some people use this non-formal education to provide their chances on the working marked.

Some examples of inclusive classes:

Here we see 2 different kinds of inclusive classes:

1)    Classes announced for non-disabled persons, and persons with disability want to join the class. The starting point here is normal education.

2)    Classes announced for persons with disability, and non-disabled persons want to join the class. The starting point here is education based on the needs of the participant with disability.

One example was a young pregnant and blind woman, who wanted to join a class for birth-preparation. It was a surprise for the school leader, the teacher and the other participants, and therefore it was a bit chaotic in the beginning. Luckily the leader got in contact with an experienced teacher, who gave lessons and concrete information to the un-experienced teacher. After that things went on in a much better way.

From interviews with most of the participants in this class we learned that quite a few had never been together with or talked to a blind person! This class though was a good experience. A few participants – who also expressed their satisfaction with the class – mentioned a smaller problem, having paid quite a lot of money for this class, and then found out that it was difficult for the teacher to meet all needs, because the teacher had to use more time on the blind participant.

In this school most classes continue after birth. So did this class – and the group are still in contact. So in this case the inclusive education ended as a success. We have learned a lot, which we now will use to help other teachers and leaders if one day they have a person with visual impairment in the class.

Some Municipalities use the term “mixed classes” – but it really is inclusive education. Such classes can be economical solid with fewer participants, because the persons with disability release a higher subsidy (8/9), so the teacher have more time to each participant.

In DOF we have a lot of this kind of inclusive education.   

One of our member schools has a choir for persons with KOL (Chronic Obstructiv Lung Disease). The teacher has organized the lessons specially for persons with this disease, but it turned out that some friends and family-members without KOL wanted to join the choir.

Now they have a choir that is so good, that they also perform in public. This is a very successful inclusive education because it is based on the needs of the person with disability.

Here is a link to YouTube, where you can see and listen to the choir, and the song they have made in honour of RKA’s (name of the school) 60 years jubilee. The song is in Danish

The RKA KOL choir

The song is about the great variation of subjects in the school, and here is a translation of the refrain, which is sung by the persons with severe reduced lung-capacity:

“RKA is rendezvous

happy people meets

and everybody can join

needs are covered

satisfaction for both body, soul and mind!”

Some examples of inclusive environment:

A school with intellectual disabled persons as the target group has placed some sewing classes in the same place as a lot of educational and other activities for non-disabled persons.

Before the lessons the disabled and non-disabled meet in sitting groups outside the classrooms. They talk to each other and have a positive inclusive meeting. In DOF we also find that this is a good contribution to our vision to achieve a more inclusive society.

Conclusion:

In DOF we find, that there are still many challenges in inclusive education, but we have a clear aim to work for tearing down the barriers and to enhance inclusive education – for a more inclusive society!