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Ict in Education

By mkarameh Feb 19, 2013 31793 Words
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Module 4: Using ICTs to promote education and job training for persons with disabilities http://www.connectaschool.org/itu-html/15
Table of Contents
      Introduction
1. ICT use for education and job training for persons with disabilities 2.1 What are accessible ICTs
2.2.1 Examples of accessible ICTs
2.2 Toward a definition of accessible ICTs
2.3.2 The benefits of accessible ICTs in connected schools 2.3 The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) 2.4.3 Dispositions on ICT accessibility

2.4.4 Education
2.4.5 Employment
2.4.6 Implications for other policy areas
2.4.7 Summary of accessible ICT obligations
1.4 Summary of other international laws and initiatives in support of accessible ICTs in inclusive education               1.4.1 World Summit on the Information Society               1.4.2 The International Telecommunication Union               1.4.3 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)                    1.4.4 UNICEF -1989 United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child                   1.4.5 The Millennium Development Goals                1.4.6 Conclusions

    2 The Current situation, challenges and opportunities             2.1 Statistics on children with disabilities receiving education             2.2 Associated levels of literacy and poverty             2.3 Reasons for exclusion             2.4 The costs of inclusive education             2.5 Numbers of people with disabilities world wide             2.6 Implications of a global aging population       3 Assistive technology by disability type: understanding users' needs             3.1 Persons with physical disabilities and motor impairments                   3.1.1 Assistive technologies for physical disabilities and motor impairments                   3.1.2 Accessible buildings and workstations             3.2 Assisting the blind or vision-impaired                   3.2.1 Assistive Technology for blindness or vision impairment                   3.2.2 Accessible media and formats                   3.2.3 Costs and trends in the use and provision of Braille                   3.2.4 Considerations when choosing a Braille printer             3.3 Deaf and hard of hearing             3.4 Cognitive impairments             3.5 Equipping inclusive schools with accessible ICTs       4 Developing and implementing accessible, ICT-connected schools             4.1 National policy reform                   4.1.1 Six key policy areas in developing and implementing accessible ICTs in connected schools                   4.1.2 Research in support of evidenced-based policy development                   4.1.3 Stakeholders and consultations                   4.1.4 Special policy considerations for persons with disabilities                   4.1.5 Evaluation and monitoring             4.2 Supporting teachers and students                   4.2.1 Integration and use of accessible ICTs in school curriculum                   4.2.2 Assistive technology and needs assessment             4.3 Funding strategies                   4.3.1 Sustainable funding                   4.3.2 Proprietary and “free and open-source” software                   4.3.3 Supporting a sustainable and viable AT eco-system             4.4 Procurement policies                   4.4.1 Compatibility with school IT infrastructure             4.5 Trends in Technology development influencing the use of ICT in education                   4.5.1 Cloud computing and AT                   4.5.2 Mobile learning                   4.5.3 Connectivity                   4.5.4 Learning platforms                   4.5.5 Open Educational Resources                   4.5.6 Web accessibility       5 Leveraging Accessible ICT-enabled schools as community hubs for training for Adults with Disabilities             5.1 Multipurpose Community Telecenters                   5.1.1 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centers for persons with disabilities in developing countries             5.2 Best practices and challenges in developing and sustaining accessible MCTs and Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) centers                   5.2.1 Funding models for using accessible, connected schools as MCTs and TVET centers                   5.2.2 Sustainable funding models and trends in the philanthropic approach                   5.2.3 Certification and ongoing education             5.3 Technology considerations                   5.3.1 AT for employment and job placement services for employers and participants       6 Checklist for policy-makers             6.1 Conclusion       7 International texts, initiatives and goals on using ICTs to enable education and job training for Persons with Disabilities             7.1 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)                   7.1.1 WSIS Key Principles             7.2 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) initiatives                   7.2.1 ITU-G3ict e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities             7.3 UNESCO Initiatives                   7.3.1 Salamanca Declaration and inclusive schools                   7.3.2 UNESCO’s 48th International Conference on Education                   7.3.3 Other UNESCO initiatives                   7.3.4 UNICEF’s -1989 United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child       8 Videos of assistive technologies       9 Technical Resources             9.1 Educational resources for teachers and policy makers on assistive technology, accessible formats and curriculum development             9.2 Assistive technology needs assessment             9.3 Assistive technology, software, resources, guides and projects             9.4 Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) solutions and articles             9.5 Multipurpose Community Telecenters, accessible Telecenters and VTET for persons with disabilities       10 Case studies       Credits Reference Documents Case Studies Introduction

‘If anybody asks me what the Internet means to me, I will tell him without hesitation: To me (a quadriplegic) the Internet occupies the most important part in my life. It is my feet that can take me to any part of the world; it is my hands which help me to accomplish my work; it is my best friend – it gives my life meaning.’ -- Dr ZhangXu1

Children with disabilities in developing countries face particular difficulties in accessing the most basic forms of education. They face the lowest levels of access to education of any cohort of students. Of the 75 million children of primary school age worldwide who are out of school, one third are children with disabilities. Information and communication technologies (ICTs), and in particular assistive technologies (ATs), can provide students with disabilities access to traditionally inaccessible educational content through electronic and online learning channels. Connected schools, with the right mix of ATs, can provide children with disabilities unprecedented access to education.

Connected, accessible schools can also be leveraged as community ICT centers, facilitating job-skills training and even providing employment opportunities for youths and adults with disabilities in the wider community. This module will also show how connected, accessible schools can be developed into accessible Multipurpose Community Telecenters (MCTs). The barriers to education faced by children with disabilities in developing countries are complex. They include barriers associated with societal and attitudinal belief systems that maintain that it is not possible to educate children with a sensory, physical or cognitive disability. �

In Section 1, this module primarily concentrates on how accessible ICTs can facilitate connected schools that provide equal access to education for children with disabilities. Section 2 examines the situations many persons with disabilities face in developing countries when trying to receive an education or job-skills training. Section 3 examines the types of accessible ICTs, ATs and accessible formats and media that enable an equitable educational experience. It also examines issues of cost and the development of local and national technology eco-systems capable of supporting and sustaining the development of, and training in, accessible ICTs. Best practices in the development and implementation of ICT accessible schools are provided in Section 4. The potential of these schools to be leveraged as accessible MCTs that provide job-skills training and employment opportunities is dealt with in Section 5. Section 6 provides a checklist of key steps for policy-makers in ministries of education, communication, local government and local schools boards to achieve accessible, connected schools. Section 7 outlines the significant body of international legislation and policy on the rights of children with disabilities to an inclusive education in mainstream schools, and the important role of accessible ICTs in achieving these rights. Meanwhile,�Section 8 provides case studies and best practice examples of accessible ICTs in action, and Section 9 provides a range of resources for teachers and policy-makers. �

1 http://www.icdri.org/inspirational/no_disability_in_digitalized_com.htm 2 http://www.unesco.org/en/inclusive-education/children-with-disabilities/ 3 http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=disability&d=SOWC&f=inID%3a150 �

1 ICT use for education and job training for persons with disabilities Children with disabilities in developing countries face particular difficulties in accessing the most basic forms of education. They face the lowest levels of access to education of any cohort of students. Of the 75 million children of primary school age worldwide who are out of school, one third are children with disabilities.2,3 Information and communication technologies (ICTs), and in particular assistive technologies (ATs), can provide students with disabilities access to traditionally inaccessible educational content through electronic and online learning channels. Connected schools, with the right mix of ATs, can provide children with disabilities unprecedented access to education. 2http://www.unesco.org/en/inclusive-education/children-with-disabilities/ 3http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=disability&d=SOWC&f=inID%3a150 �

1.1 What are accessible ICTs
Accessible Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to provide persons with disabilities unprecedented levels of access to education, skills training and employment, as well as the opportunity to participate in the economic, cultural and social life of their community.

ICTs encompass a wide range of hardware and software, devices and computers, formats and systems that enable communication through electronic means. The definition of ICT covers everything from the storage, processing and retrieval of electronic information to the array of devices and software used to retrieve this information, as well as those used to communicate, in real-time, with other people. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities4 defines communications to include “Languages, display of text, Braille, tactile communication, large print, accessible multimedia as well as written, audio, plain-language, human-reader and augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, including accessible information and communication technology”5 �An accessible ICT product or service is one that can be used by all its intended users, taking into account their differing capabilities. A person's ability to make inputs (e.g. type in text) and perceive outputs (e.g. read text on a screen) may be impaired. This can be either permanent or temporary, and may be due to various physical, mental or environmental conditions.6 4Full text of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is available here: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=13&pid=150 5Article 2 Definitions

6http://universaldesign.ie/useandapply/ict/universaldesignforict/introductiontoaccessibility#introduction �
1.1.1 Examples of accessible ICTs
To illustrate how all these elements work together to make an accessible experience for a person with a disability, we will look at two scenarios. Making a call on a mobile phone
A person with a hearing impairment wishes to make a call on a mobile phone. This person uses a piece of assistive technology (AT) called a hearing aid, which helps amplify sounds from the person’s surroundings. An accessible experience is only possible in this instance if the hearing aid and the mobile phone are compatible with one another. If they are not, it is likely that the person will hear a loud whining noise, known as feedback, when the phone is placed near the hearing aid. Once the hearing aid and the phone are compatible, the person can make and receive a phone call in the same way as a person without a hearing impairment. Browsing a website

Consider a blind person who wishes to browse a website using a personal computer. In this slightly more complicated scenario, the person uses a sophisticated piece of AT called a "screen reader," which is capable of converting text on the computer screen into synthesized speech. The person can also navigate around a website and input text into an online Web form by using this screen reader in conjunction with a standard keyboard. In this scenario, several things must happen for the person to have an accessible experience. 1. A localized version of the screen reader (i.e. adapted to local requirements in terms of language and culture) must be available.7 2. The person must have access to, and be trained, in using the screen reader. 3. The screen reader and the PC must be “interoperable” or compatible -- i.e., the screen-reading software must be able to control the browser and the operating systems on the computer. 4. The Web content on the website the person is browsing must also be designed to be accessible, for which there are international standards. Once these conditions are in place, it is feasible for a blind person to access the same content and carry out the same tasks online as any other person. �

7http://portal.bibliotekivest.no/terminology.htm#L
1.2 Toward a definition of accessible ICTs
Defining Disability
The definitions of disability used in national policies, legislation and disability statistics vary significantly throughout the world. Figures on the prevalence of disability worldwide used in this module are based on those from the World Bank.8 The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes the cultural and economic differences in which these national definitions of disability operate, and does not seek to provide an overarching definition. Instead it simply states: “Persons with disabilities include those with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with other[s]”9 (Article 1) However, the Convention does move toward a view of disability resulting from the barriers within society (such as steps at the entrance of a building for a wheelchair user) and away from the view that disability results exclusively from a person’s medical condition. Similarly, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of disability, which is contained within its International Classification of Functioning (ICF), Disability and Health, known as ICF, borrows from this social model. It conceptualizes disability as "a dynamic interaction between health conditions (diseases, disorders, injuries, traumas, etc) and contextual factors."10 The ICF model has two components: the first looks at the issues of functioning and disability (the individual’s body functions and structures), while the second part looks at the environment and context in which the person lives and how these factors impact on the individual’s participation in society. It points to a dynamic interaction between health conditions (diseases, disorders, injuries, traumas, etc) and contextual factors. The ICF moves away from the so-called “medial model” notion of an assumed "norm" of human ability and firmly embraces the notion of society as an active agent in the quality of life of the individual. Defining Accessible ICTs

The term accessible ICTs, as used in this module, covers a full range of assistive and mainstream technologies and formats that can enable a student with a disability to enjoy an inclusive education. Assistive technology (AT) is a “piece of equipment, product system, hardware, software or service that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”11 Accessible ICTs include:

* Mainstream technologies, such as computers and mobile phones that contain in-built accessibility features; * Assistive technologies, such as hearing aids, screen readers, adaptive keyboards, etc.; and * Accessible formats, such as accessible HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) books, etc. Section 3 and Section 4 provide further information on these technologies, and also discuss issues of affordability, availability, personalization, interoperability, and accessibility features on mainstream computers and mobile phones, as well as training and support. �

8World Bank (2007) . Measuring Disability Prevalence, available at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DISABILITY/Resources/Data/MontPrevalence.pdf 9 Full text of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is available here: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=13&pid=150 10http://www.who.int/classifications/icf/en/ International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) ICF describes how people live with their health condition. ICF is a classification of health and health related domains that describe body functions and structures, activities and participation. Since an individual's functioning and disability occurs in a context, ICF also includes a list of environmental factors. 11 ISO (2000). Guide 71. Guidelines for standardization to address the needs of older persons and people with disabilities. Available at http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail?csnumber=33987 Note: AT is a generic term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistive_technology �

1.2.1 The benefits of accessible ICTs in connected schools
A meta-study on research into use of accessible ICTs showed that it brings the following benefits to all stakeholders involved in education, including students, teachers, parents and care-givers:12 General benefits:

* Enables greater learner autonomy
* Unlocks hidden potential for those with communication difficulties * Enables students to demonstrate achievement in ways which might not be possible with traditional methods * Enables tasks to be tailored to suit individual skills and abilities Benefits for students:

* Computers can improve students' independent access to education * Students with special educational needs are able to accomplish tasks working at their own pace * Visually impaired students using the Internet can access information alongside their sighted peers * Students with profound and multiple learning difficulties can communicate more easily * Students using voice communication aids are able to gain confidence and social credibility at school and in their communities * Increased ICT confidence amongst students motivates them to use the Internet at home for schoolwork and leisure interests. Benefits for teachers and non-teaching staff:

* Reduced isolation for teachers working in special educational fields, enabling them to communicate electronically with colleagues * Support for reflection on professional practice via online communication * Improved skills for staff and a greater understanding of access technology used by students * Enhanced professional development and improved effectiveness in using ICTs with students, through collaboration with peers * Materials already in electronic form (for example, from the internet) are more easily adapted into accessible resources such as large print or Braille materials. �

Benefits for parents and care-givers:
* Use of voice communication aids encourages parents and care-givers to have higher expectations of children’s sociability and potential level of participation.� 12BECTA ICT Research (2003) What the research says about ICT supporting special educational needs (SEN) and inclusion. Available at http://research.becta.org.uk/upload-dir/downloads/page_documents/research/wtrs_motivation.pdf 1.3 The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) The UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities places significant obligations on all state officials responsible for equal access to education and employment opportunities.13 The Convention contains a number of innovative and progressive concepts on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities.14 The Convention holds that the accessibility of ICTs is equally important as the accessibility of other domains, such as the built environment and transportation. The Convention moves toward a view of disability resulting from barriers within society (such as steps at the entrance of a building for a wheelchair user) and away from the view that disability results exclusively from a person’s medical condition. This paradigm shift, from the medical to the social model of disability, puts the focus on giving persons with disabilities access to society and its structures -- what is commonly known as "accessibility." A second innovation within the Convention is the position that access to ICTs for persons with disabilities plays a pivotal role in overcoming many of these societal barriers. The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 December 2006, and became an enforceable legal instrument on the date when the 20th ratification occurred, 5 May 2008. As of September 2010, 147 countries had signed the Convention, of which 93 had subsequently ratified it.15 �

13 Full text of the Un Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is available here: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=13&pid=150 14 http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=23&pid=151#iq1 15Updates on the number of signatories to the Convention, its Optional Protocol and the number of ratifications can be found here: http://www.un.org/disabilities/ 1.3.1 Dispositions on ICT accessibility

Accessibility is the one over-arching general principles contained in Article 3 of the Convention. Article 9 on accessibility specifically mentions access to ICTs as a key enabler for the enjoyment of other rights. such as the right to an inclusive education and the right to work. The definition of communication in Article 2 states that it includes: “Languages, display of text, Braille, tactile communication, large print, accessible multimedia as well as written, audio, plain-language, human-reader and augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, including accessible information and communication technology;”16 The CRPD specifically mentions terms for assistive technology in eight of its articles between Article 4 and Article 32 (i.e., Articles 4, 9, 20, 21, 24, 26, 29, and 32). Measures that could include assistive technology (e.g., "take all appropriate measures") are mentioned in an additional 17 articles.17 Defining Universal Design

The Convention recognizes the risk of exclusion resulting from advances in technology, if the requirements of all end users -- including persons with disabilities -- are not taken into consideration. This is addressed in the Convention through the concept of universal design, which is “The design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. ‘Universal design’ shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.” (Article 2) Article 4 contains a specific recommendation that all new technology developments be “universally designed.” This helps reduce the cost of including accessibility features by incorporating them at the earliest possible stage during the product development cycle. The Convention also holds that in and of itself, access to information about assistive technologies is important, placing an obligation on government officials “to provide accessible information to persons with disabilities about mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, including new technologies, as well as other forms of assistance, support services and facilities” (Article 4 (1) (h)) Article 26, on “habilitation and rehabilitation,” also emphasizes the importance of the “availability, knowledge and use of assistive devices and technologies” as they relate to rehabilitation as a means to attain independence and autonomy through, among other things, access to education (Article 24) and employment (Article 27). �


16Article 2 (1)
17Borg, J., Lindstrom, A., Larrson, S. “Assistive technology in developing countries: national and international responsibilities to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, available at www.thelancetglobalhealthnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/Disability-REV-3.pdf �

1.3.2 Education
In its preamble, the Convention recalls Article 36 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has a right to education. Defining Inclusive Education
The Convention recognizes that access to education is a fundamental right of persons with disabilities. Education is to be provided, wherever possible, in an “inclusive” manner; that is, within the context of the mainstream educational system and not in a segregated setting. Article 24 contains specific obligations that include the provision of “reasonable accommodations” for students with disabilities. These may include, as appropriate, access to (along with training in, and use of) accessible ICTs, including assistive technology and educational materials in an accessible format. Defining Reasonable Accommodation

As defined in Article 2, reasonable accommodation is a key enabler for persons with disabilities to enjoy equal rights. . Reasonable accommodation means the provision of adjustments and accommodations to ensure that a person with a disability can enjoy or exercise their human rights on an equal basis with other individuals. A reasonable adjustment should be both necessary and appropriate and should not impose a disproportionate burden on the accommodator. One example of a reasonable accommodation in the educational context may be the provision of the appropriate assistive technology that is necessary for a person with a disability to access education on an equitable basis with their peers. Article 2 also states that denial of reasonable accommodation is a form of “discrimination on the basis of disability.” Article 5 further emphasizes this by stating, “In order to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, State Parties shall take all appropriate steps to ensure reasonable accommodation is provided.” Staff Training and Peer Support

Article 24 also contains an important requirement pertaining to the professionals and staff members who work in all areas of education. They should be given “disability awareness training and [training in] the use of appropriate augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, educational techniques and materials to support persons with disabilities.” Article 26 (on rehabilitation) emphasizes the importance of peer support. This is particularly relevant in the training in and use of accessible ICTs in educational and job training settings. �

1.3.3 Employment
Article 27 of the Convention emphasizes the “right of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market, and [a] work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities.”18 Article 27 also mandates that “reasonable accommodation be] provided to persons with disabilities in the workplace.”19 18Article 27.1

19Article 27.1 (i)

1.3.4 Implications for other policy areas
International cooperation
Article 4 (2) of the Convention places a specific obligation on government officials to use the framework of international cooperation “with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of these rights.” This obligation is further expanded in Article 32, which significantly recommends that international cooperation be used for the furthering and sharing of knowledge and capacity between nations in relation to “scientific and technical knowledge.” This is particularly relevant to the development of accessible ICT eco-systems, discussed further in Section 4.

Article 9 on Accessibility specifies that “State Parties shall also take appropriate measures to develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public.” (Article 9.2 (a)) Public procurement

Many governments have long used public procurement practices to achieve social inclusion goals. By specifying certain criteria for the good or service being purchased, public authorities can exert a significant influence on the quality of the goods and services for sale in the market. They can also spur innovation within industry to meet these requirements. For example, in the US and Canada public procurement policies require that any ICTs purchased by the federal government to be accessible to persons with disabilities.20 This has had a profound effect on the accessibility of many mainstream products such as computer operating systems, printers and mobile phones. It has given industry an incentive to innovate and provide cost-effective, accessible solutions by making accessibility a competitive criterion in public procurement competitions. So public procurement can be a way to foster standards and enable governments to influence the development and availably of accessible ICTs. This also impacts on the wider accessible-ICT eco-system by creating a demand, and therefore a capacity within the market, to develop, produce and maintain accessible ICTs. The greater the demand, the lower the ultimate costs are likely to be. Public procurement policy can therefore act a means to promote the development and availability of accessible ICTs. The role and development of public procurement policy is discussed further in Section 4. �

20http://e-accessibilitytoolkit.org/toolkit/public_procurement/case_studies 1.3.5 Summary of accessible ICT obligations
With regard to accessible ICTs, employment and education, the obligations of government officials under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are: * In general, accessible ICTs should facilitate the enjoyment of many other rights, including access to education and employment. * Access to ICTs, including the internet, are to be given the same priority as access to buildings and transportation. * The universal design of mainstream products and ICTs that are accessible to persons with disabilities are to be promoted through research and the development of appropriate guidelines and standards. * Research and development and promotion of new accessible ICTs, including assistive technologies, are to be undertaken with an emphasis on affordable solutions. * Professionals and staff working with persons with disabilities should receive training on these rights and how they can be realized. This includes training as appropriate for teachers, educators, care workers and job trainers on how accessible ICTs can be used to provide access to education and job training.� 1.4 Summary of other international laws and initiatives in support of accessible ICTs in inclusive education Figure 1.1 shows the history of many of the human rights and, more recently information society, conventions and international agreements in support of the use of accessible ICTs in inclusive education. Figure 1.1 Overview of legal frameworks in support of the use of accessible ICTs in inclusive education

Source: UNESCO (2005)
The following subsections summarize the main initiatives and international organizations with a remit to promote accessible ICTs and inclusive education. Section 8 contains more details on international texts, initiatives and goals in this area. 1.4.1 World Summit on the Information Society

The World Summit on the Information Society, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), established a common vision for building an Information Society for all, and provided a framework to translate that vision into action.21 The WSIS Plan of Action contains many commitments on the development of an Information Society that enables the education, training and employment of persons with disabilities.22 These include: * C2 Infrastructure -- “Encourage the design and production of ICT equipment and services so that everyone has easy and affordable access to them, including older people, persons with disabilities, children, especially marginalized children, and other disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, and promote the development of technologies, applications, and content suited to their needs, guided by the Universal Design Principle and further enhanced by the use of assistive technologies.” * C3 Access to Information and Knowledge: -- "Adaptation of ICT infrastructure, tools and applications that facilitate accessibility of ICTs for all, and disadvantaged groups in particular.” * �C4 Capacity Building -- “Address the need to ensure the benefits offered by ICTs for all, including disadvantaged, marginalized and vulnerable groups.” �

21World Summit on the Information Society http://www.itu.int/wsis/index.html 22UN/ITU (2003)WSIS, Geneva Plan of Action, available at
http://www.itu.int/wsis/documents/doc_multi.asp?lang=en&id=1160|0 �
1.4.2 The International Telecommunication Union

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the lead United Nations agency for information and communication issues and is the global focal point for governments and the private sector in developing networks and services.� ITU works to improve the telecommunications infrastructure of the developing world and has a specific strategy on accessibility.� This strategy focuses on: ��������� making technical design standards accessible ��������� supporting the rights of� persons with disabilities, ��������� providing training on accessible ICT Examples of ITU’s work and collaborations include:

��������� “Total Conversation” – ITU-T Rec.F.703.23�Total Conversation is an ITU service description that covers videophone with real time text.� It is an audiovisual conversation service providing real-time video, text and voice that is not only useful for persons with disabilities but also for anyone requiring textual back-up, technical data, language translations, verbal or signed conversations. Joint ITU/G3ict “e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities”. This online toolkit is designed to assist policy makers to implement the ICT accessibility dispositions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. �

23http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/studygroups/com16/accessibility/conversation.html 1.4.3 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) UNESCO leads the global Education for All movement, aimed at meeting the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015.24 UNESCO promotes the ultimate goal of inclusive education, which it views as a means to ensure a quality education for all and to achieve wider social inclusion goals. Key policy documents and agreements that UNESCO has developed and facilitated include: * Guidelines for inclusion: Ensuring Access to Education for All25 * Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education 200926

* Salamanca Declaration (1994).27
UNESCO promotes the development of inclusive schools; that is, schools that “accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, emotional, social, linguistic or other conditions."28 It views inclusive education not as a synonym for special needs education or integration techniques, but an “as an on-going process in an ever-evolving education system, focusing on those currently excluded from accessing education, as well as those who are in school but not learning.”29 In developing countries, many educational systems struggle to provide a quality education in mainstream schools and favour the development of special needs schools. Worldwide, many countries have developed a two-tier educational system composed of mainstream and special needs schools. UNESCO advocates that whereever possible, children with disabilities should be accommodated in inclusive schools, which it promotes as being more cost-effective and which lead to a more inclusive society.� �

24http://www.unesco.org/en/efa/
25http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001402/140224e.pdf
26UNESCO Policy guidelines on Inclusive Education http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0017/001778/177849e.pdf 27http://unesco.de/fileadmin/medien/Dokumente/Bildung/Salamanca_Declaration.pdf 28(Article 3, Salamanca Framework for Action)

29 UNESCO 2008 “UNESCO 48th International Conference on Education – Reference document” available at http://www.ibe.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Policy_Dialogue/48th_ICE/CONFINTED_48-3_English.pdf For further discussion on the differences between integration, special needs and inclusive education see page 8 �

1.4.4 UNICEF -1989 United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child The UN Children’s fund, UNICEF, works for children’s rights, survival, development and protection.30 It is guided by the 1989 Convention of the Rights of the Child. This international convention contains specific references to the right of children with disabilities to be protected from all forms of discrimination (Article 2). Article 23 directs parties to the Convention to promote a life of dignity, self-reliance and “active participation in the community." Assistance should be extended to ensure that children with disabilities receive “education, training, health care services, rehabilitation services, [and] preparation for employment and recreation opportunities” (Article 23 (3)). Government officials are also encouraged to cooperate internationally to ensure that “information concerning methods of rehabilitation, education and vocational service” are shared in order to build capacity and experience in these areas (Article 23 (4)). 31 �

30http://www.unicef.org/
31United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/crc.pdf

1.4.5 The Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have set a target of full enrollment and completion of primary school for all children by 2015.32 The 2010 MDG Report showed that while enrollment in primary education has continued to rise, reaching 89 per cent in the developing world, the pace of progress is insufficient to reach the target by 2015.33 To achieve the target, all children of school-going age would have had to be enrolled in primary education by 2009, yet in sub-Saharan African countries, for example, at least one in four children was out of school in 2008. The 2010 MDG report showed that even in countries that are close to achieving universal primary education, the percentages of children with disabilities not enrolled remained disproportionately high. In Bulgaria and Romania, net enrollment percentages for children aged 7 to 15 were over 90 per cent in 2002, but only 58 per cent of children with disabilities in that age group were enrolled in school. �

32UN Millennium Development Goals, “Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education” Target “Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling”. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/education.shtml 33 Millennium Development Goals 2010 Report


1.4.6 Conclusions
The body of international policy and legislation on the rights of persons with disabilities is strongly in support of children with disabilities receiving their education in an inclusive, rather than segregated, school setting. National governments, therefore, have significant human rights and educational work to do in relation to the provision of education for children with disabilities. The major tendency in new policy approaches is towards inclusive education.34 Whatever the policy environment, accessible ICTs can significantly empower children with disabilities to participate in lessons, to communicate, and to learn more effectively.35 34IITE page 17

35BECTA ICT Research (2003) What the research says about ICT supporting special educational needs (SEN) and inclusion. Available at http://research.becta.org.uk/upload-dir/downloads/page_documents/research/wtrs_motivation.pdf �

2 The Current situation, challenges and opportunities
“UN Millennium Development Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education Target 1: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling”36 Children with disabilities have to combat blatant educational exclusion. Of the 75 million children of primary school age worldwide who are out of school, one-third are children with disabilities.37 UNESCO estimates that 90 per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school.38 In total, an estimated 186 million children with disabilities worldwide have not completed their primary school education.39 Thus, children with disabilities make up the world’s largest and most disadvantaged minority in terms of education.40 �

36http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
37http://www.unesco.org/en/inclusive-education/children-with-disabilities/ 38http://www.unesco.org/en/inclusive-education/children-with-disabilities/ 39UNESCO, “Empowering Persons with Disabilities through ICTs”, 2009, available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001847/184704e.pdf 40http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=18


2.1 Statistics on children with disabilities receiving education There are very few statistical studies that can point to the number of children with disabilities who receive education. Recent reports, such as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2010,41 show modest improvements in some countries over some previous reports.42 UNESCO has conducted significant research into the plight of children with disabilities in developing countries. It reports that exclusion from education “is particularly more serious among persons with disabilities, of whom approximately 97 per cent do not have the basic reading and writing skills.”43 Literacy rates are as low as 1 per cent for women with disabilities.44 In its briefing paper on “Children out of School,” UNESCO states that most children with disabilities in developing countries are not attending school, and there is “no inclusion of those with physical, emotional or learning impairments within the education system.”45 41http://www.unesco.org/en/efareport

42A 2004 report for the World Bank stated that “estimates of the percent of disabled children and youth who attend school in developing countries range from less than 1% (Salamanca Framework for Action) to 5% (Habibi 1999)”. Peters, S, 2004. “Inclusive Education: An EFA Strategy for all children”. Available at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/547664-1099079993288/InclusiveEdu_efa_strategy_for_children.pdf One estimate from China suggests that “there are 8 million disabled children while special schools cater for approximately 130,000” Watkins, K (2000), The OXFAM Education Report. OXFAM. OXFORD cited in UNESCO Children out of School 43UNESCO 2008 “UNESCO 48th International Conference on Education” page 30, available at http://www.ibe.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Policy_Dialogue/48th_ICE/ICE_FINAL_REPORT_eng.pdf 44http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=37&pid=1514 45UNESCO “Children out of School”, available at http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/global_co/policy_group/children_out_of_school.pdf

2.2 Associated levels of literacy and poverty
As a result of the low levels of school enrollment and attendance by children with disabilities, the literacy rate for adults with disabilities is just 3 per cent and, in some countries, as low as 1 per cent for women with disabilities.46 Poverty and disability are closely linked. The World Bank estimates that 20 per cent of the poorest people are disabled. An estimated 30 per cent of the world’s street children have a disability. The quality of life of persons with disabilities in developing countries is significantly lower than that of their peers. In most countries, persons with disabilities tend to be regarded as the most disadvantaged sector within their society. Women with disabilities experience exclusion due to both their gender and their disability.

The vast majority of persons with disabilities are cared for exclusively by their families. In developing countries, persons with disabilities are not expected to work and many can only receive an income through begging. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), some 470 million people with disabilities are of working age worldwide.47 Yet, unemployment among the disabled is as high as 80 per cent in some countries.48 �

46http://www.ibe.unesco.org/National_Reports/ICE_2008/afghanistan_NR08.pdf 47http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_emp/---ifp_skills/documents/publication/wcms_117143.pdf 48Of the some 70 million persons with disabilities in India, for example, only about 100,000 have succeeded in obtaining employment in industry.�http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=18 �

2.3 Reasons for exclusion
The reasons that children with disabilities do not attend school in developing countries are complex. It is increasingly accepted that the so-called medical model of disability often serves to stigmatize persons with disabilities while inadequately dealing with wider issues of exclusion from a person’s society, environment and culture. Under the social model of disability, conversely, the main barriers to access for children with disabilities can be summarized as follows: * Attitudinal – Social or institutional attitudes that persons with disabilities cannot or should not be educated.49 * Physical - Most schools are not designed to accommodate the needs of children with disabilities. Inaccessible entrances, toilet facilities, corridors and doorways for people with physical or sensory disabilities make physical access to school buildings difficult and often impossible.50 * Pedagogical - There is little or no training of teachers in meeting the educational and communication needs of children with disabilities. * Infrastructural – No transportation (or inaccessible transportation) is provided to enable children with disabilities to travel to school. One survey in Bangladesh found that parents of children with disabilities saw the absence of a specialized transport system from home to school in rural areas, and the lack of subsidized support for rickshaw transport, as major constraints.51 * Policy – While most countries have a policy framework to support inclusive national educational systems, many do not have strategies in place to address the barriers preventing children from attending school. Indeed, the grossly inadequate level of support for children with disabilities in general schools often drives parents and groups representing persons with disabilities to demand separate provision of educational services.52 �

49The WHO report on “Children out of School” stated that children with disabilities in Uganda are often chased away from school. Though no reasons are given for this, another report on attitudes towards persons with disabilities in Nigeria points to a general belief in most ethnic groups that a person’s disability is a result of a curse from God or an act of witchcraft. EFA Global Monitoring Report 2010 http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001866/186606E.pdf 50�For example, in 2005, just 18 per cent of India’s schools were accessible to children with disabilities, in terms of facilities such as ramps, appropriately designed classrooms and toilets, and transport. EFA Global Monitoring Report 2010 http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001866/186606E.pdf 51(Ackerman et al., 2005).cited in EFA Global Monitoring Report 2010 52(Lang and Murangira, 2009). Cited in EFA Global Monitoring Report 2010 �

2.4 The costs of inclusive education
There is little available data on the exact costs of educating children with disabilities, although some figures show that it can be two to four times higher than for other children.53 UNESCO points to the experience in Europe, where the higher costs associated with educating children with special needs is associated with funding models where children are educated in separate settings such as special needs schools. Lower funding costs were shown to generally apply where the funding "followed" the child into inclusive educational settings. Research also suggests that students with disabilities achieve better school results in inclusive settings.54 There is some evidence to suggest that an inclusive and high-quality educational system leads to lower numbers of students needing to repeat classes and entire academic years. UNESCO has pointed to the case of Latin America, where recidivism is linked with a cost of USD 5.6 billion in primary school and USD 5.5 billion in secondary school.55 Investment to overcome those costs could include the provision of ICTs for students with disabilities. It has been the experience of many countries that, in line with the UN Convention’s recommendation on Universal Design, incorporating the requirements of students with disabilities into the design of buildings and services reduces costs significantly. In its National Report at International Conference on Education (ICE), the Afghani Ministry for Education reported that“the additional costs of construction [of] schools for all according to the principles of universal design are minimal.”56 UNESCO recommends that any cost modeling of inclusive education should take into account the high social and economic costs that a country will incur if its children are not educated.57 UNESCO studies estimate that excluding persons with disabilities from the work force of a country can cause a loss of gross domestic product (GDP) of between 10 and 35.8 per cent.58 Overall, the long-term social and financial costs of not providing an inclusive education that leads to participation in the economic, social and cultural life of a country are “indisputably high.” UNESCO concludes that not to invest in inclusive education is “profoundly irrational” in economic terms. �

53http://www.inclusion.com/resoecd.html
54UNESCO. Ten questions on inclusive education http://www.unesco.org/en/inclusive-education/10-questions-on-inclusive-quality-education/ 55UNESCO. Guidelines for Inclusive Education, page 12
56National Report of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for the 48th Session of the International Conference on Education, Geneva Switzerland, November 2008 http://www.ibe.unesco.org/National_Reports/ICE_2008/afghanistan_NR08.pdf 57UNESCO 2003 “Overcoming Exclusion through Inclusive Approaches in Education Conceptual Paper” page 13-14 58http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0017/001778/177849e.pdf


2.5 Numbers of people with disabilities world wide
In its 2007 report, “Measuring Disability Prevalence,” the World Bank estimated the number of persons with disabilities at between 10 and 12 per cent of the global population.59 Using the United Nation’s “World Population Prospects 2008,”60 which indicates a global population of slightly more than 6.9 billion people in 2010, Table 2.2 shows the estimated global population of people with disabilities as just under 830 million people (691-829 million people) by the end of 2010. That number is expected to exceed 1 billion (915 million – 1.1 billion) before the midpoint of the 21st century. Statistics show that approximately one in five persons with disabilities are born with their disability, while most acquire it after age 16, mainly during their working lives.61 Approximately 20 per cent of these are children with disabilities. Table 2.1: Global population of persons with disabilities

Year| 2010| 2020| 2030| 2040| 2050|
World
Population (millions)
Medium variant| 6,909| 7,675| 8,309| 8,801| 9,150|
Estimates of global population of persons with disabilities(imputed as 10-12%, in millions)| 691-829| 768-921| 831-997| 880-1,056| 915-1,098| Estimate of global population of children with disabilities(imputed as 2-3%, in millions)| 140-165| 154-184| 166-199| 176-211| 183-220| Sources: World Population Prospects 2008 cited in ITU/G3ict e-Accessibility Toolkit. �

59World Bank - Measuring Disability Prevalence, available at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DISABILITY/Resources/Data/MontPrevalence.pdf��� Disability figures in this module are based on the World Health Organisation’s estimate that 10 per cents of the world’s population have a disability. 60UN - World Population Prospects 2008, available at http://esa.un.org/unpp 61 Forum on Disability briefing for CSR practitioners, Disabled employees: Labour standards, an Employers”, Available at www.csreurope.org/csrinfo/csrdisability/Disabledemployees �

2.6 Implications of a global aging population
Many commentators have predicted that the actual figures of persons with disabilities worldwide may be higher than these estimates. Figure 2.2 shows the share of persons 50 years and older by region. Another factor likely to influence the numbers of person with disabilities is the increase in percentages of older people in the world population and the associated prevalence of age-related disabilities. Figure 2.2: Share of 50+ population by region


Source: World Population Prospects 2008
People are likely to develop new difficulties and impairments as they age – whether they are sensory (vision and hearing), cognitive (thinking and communication) or motor (locomotion, reach and stretch, and dexterity). Likewise, people with existing mild difficulties and impairments may experience an increase in their severity. In any population in which the age profile is getting older, the total number of people with difficulties and impairments will increase.62 The steadily increasing population of people over the age of 65 brings with it a reduction in the “old-age dependency ratio” (ODR).63 The ODR is the ratio of people aged 15-64 in the population per one person aged 65 or older in the population. In 1950 the worldwide ODR was 12:1; in 2000 the ODR was 9:1; by 2050 it is expected to be 4:1 globally. Figure 2.3 shows these dependency ratios for various types of economies. Figure 2.3 Old Age Dependency Ratios

Source: World Population Prospects 2008
Population data from the UN’s “World Population Prospectus 2008” shows that the less-developed regions (not including the least-developed countries) are projected to have the steepest growth in their old-age dependency ratios over the next 40 years. These regions are likely to experience a 200 per cent increase in the ratio of people over 65 to those of workforce age (age 15-64) between 2000 and 2050, as compared to the slightly more than 100 per cent increase predicted for the more developed regions and the slightly less than 100 per cent increase in the least-developed countries. The bottom line is that many developing regions in the world will experience a steep increase in the numbers of people working to support those not working due to old age. With an increasing dependency ratio comes an increasing requirement for workforce productivity. Enabling persons with disabilities to access education -- and ultimately become employees through the use of accessible ICTs --will help offset this increasing dependency. The ITU/G3ict “e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities” provides guidance to policy-makers on calculating the benefits to a national economy of a more productive workforce enabled through the use of accessible ICTs.64


62Anne-Rivers Forcke, IBM, in ITU/G3ict “e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities” 63United Nation’s Programme on Ageing
64 ITU/G3ict, “e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities”, Increasing productivity, available at http://www.e-accessibilitytoolkit.org/toolkit/who_benefits/global_demographics 3 Assistive technology by disability type: understanding users' needs Accessible ICTs hold the potential to enable persons with disabilities to receive an education and become productive employees. Applied to education systems, accessible ICTs can provide equitable learning opportunities by enabling communication with teachers and fellow students, providing access to learning materials and by establishing a venue to complete course work, assignments and examinations. There are a wide variety of accessible ICTs currently available that can help overcome reduced functional capacity and enable communication, cognition and access to computers. Students with disabilities also require educational texts and online resources that are available in accessible formats. Categories of assistive technologies (ATs) include stand-alone devices that aid mobility (e.g. wheelchairs) and communication (e.g. hearing aids). They also include hardware and software that enable access to a computer (e.g. an adaptive keyboard or screen reader). This section deals primarily with ATs that relate directly to a person’s ability to access a computer and participate effectively in an inclusive learning environment. Other concerns, such as accessibility of the building or computer workstations are also addressed. A catalogue of ATs for ICT compiled for this module is a superset of the ISO/IEC FDIS 24751 Individualized Adaptability and Accessibility in e-Learning, Education and Training standard, which was created to facilitate the matching of individual user needs and preferences with educational digital resources that meet those needs and preferences. Identifying the best assistive technology solution often requires an in-depth needs assessment to understand how a difficulty or impairment impacts computer use and/or access to an educational resource. The need for centers of expertise in AT is dealt with Section 4. Ability as a spectrum

To begin to understand the complex variety of functional limitations that persons with disabilities experience, it is necessary to first appreciate the changing nature of human capability. No two people, whether with or without a disability, have exactly the same capabilities. Moreover, an individual’s ability to carry out a task can change according to a number of factors, including physical and mental fatigue, their environment and context of use. Consider, for example, a person with average eyesight trying to read a computer screen in an environment where very bright sunlight is reflected off the screen. It may be difficult or even impossible for that person to read the screen. A person may also experience reduced cognitive ability if working while fatigued or in a noisy or distracting environment. So it is important to view personal abilities to use ICTs as a spectrum that changes according to a wide range of factors.65 Thus, we can say the following: * A disability may occur during a person’s lifetime or may be present from birth; * Categories of impairment include, but are not limited to, physical, sensory, cognitive and developmental; * A disability may be permanent or temporary in nature;

* Disability may be the result of a combination of factors, including: o Functional limitations resulting from physical, psychiatric or psychological conditions; o Limitations in the design of an environment, product or ICT, and o Barriers associated with the attitudes of people and society; and * As people get older, the prevalence of age-related disabilities increases. Educational Needs of children with disabilities

The special educational requirements of children with disabilities caused by a functional limitation are often called special educational needs (SENs), and they are both diverse and varied. UNESCO groups the roles that ICTs can play into three main categories: * Compensation uses – Technical assistance that enables active participation in traditional educational activities, such as reading or writing. * Didactic uses – The general process of using ICTs to transform approaches to education. Many ICTs can be used as a didactical tool to enable a more inclusive learning environment * Communication uses – Technologies that can enable communication – often referred to as alternative and augmentative communication devices and strategies.66 The following sections discuss the main categories of physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities and refer to best practices for ensuring that accessible ICTs enable learning in an inclusive school environment. �

65 http://www.who.int/classifications/icf/en/ International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) ICF describes how people live with their health condition. ICF is a classification of health and health related domains that describe body functions and structures, activities and participation. Since an individual's functioning and disability occurs in a context, ICF also includes a list of environmental factors. 66UNESCO IITE ICTs in Eudcation for People with Special Needs. http://www.iite.ru/pics/publications/files/3214644.pdf 3.1 Persons with physical disabilities and motor impairments Physical disabilities and motor impairments may result from traumatic injuries, such as spinal cord damage, or the loss of limbs due to diseases and congenital conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, arthritis or Parkinson’s disease. A range of issues should be considered to enable access for people with physical disabilities and motor impairments to a computer in a learning environment. These include (but are not limited to) the correct type of assistive technology, as well as the accessibility of the workstation and the building. For some users, using a standard keyboard and mouse is possible, but due to tremor or low fine motor skills, default settings on the computer need to be adjusted to avoid continual errors. For other individuals, an alternative pointing or input device, such as a roller ball or switch, may be required. Users who are unable to access a keyboard using their hands or arms but have good head, neck and upper torso control may be able to type on the keyboard using a mouthstick or head/chin pointer. �

3.1.1 Assistive technologies for physical disabilities and motor impairments Mouse Alternatives and Replacements
Trackballs, joysticks and various forms of tablets are frequently easier to control than a mouse. The mouse pointer may also be controlled using head movements, which are tracked using infrared or ultrasound technology. Buttons on many alternative pointing devices can be programmed to perform a double click or to lock down the mouse button for a drag. Mouse buttons can be replaced with switches (e.g., puff-sip switches, foot pedal switches, etc.) or with software that performs the mouse click, double click, and drag by dwelling on a target for a predetermined time and then moving the mouse cursor in one of four directions. The mouse pointer can be controlled using keys on the numeric keypad, or keys on an on-screen keyboard. Mouse emulators exist for single-switch users and users of voice recognition systems. These emulators employ a variety of strategies to quickly zero-in on the target.

Figure 3.1 An arthritic hand trying to use a standard mouse
Keyboard Modifications and Alternatives
Free software or operating-system modifications allow changes to be made to keyboard responses by slowing response time, eliminating or slowing key repeat rates and holding keys used in multiple key depressions when selected sequentially. Standard keyboards are also available with on-board memory for text or command macros. Mainstream alternatives include keyboards that are smaller, more ergonomically shaped, provide more efficient keyboard layouts (e.g., DVORAK or QWERTY) and have built-in trackballs or other mouse alternatives. Specialized keyboards have been developed to accommodate a variety of individual needs. Miniaturized keyboards accommodate those with limited range of movement or strength. These may have mouse emulation as a built-in feature. Enlarged keyboards are more suited to person with poor motor control but adequate range of movement. Programmable keyboards allow for customization of the keyboard layout (key content, key size), with individualized overlays depicting the key contents for the user. Keys may also be programmed with mouse emulation functions. Numerous on-screen keyboard software programs allow the user to select keystrokes (e.g., letters, words, commands, phrases) using a mouse or mouse emulation. Switch Input

Switch input devices can be used by persons who are unable to use a keyboard or mouse but who have good control of some other muscle groups. Switches can be used to emulate keyboard and mouse functions. Single, dual or three-switch input of Morse code, for example, can be translated by a hardware and/or software interface into keyboard and mouse inputs to the computer.

Figure 3.2 A single switch mounted on a wheelchair 67
Voice Recognition
Voice recognition of commands or text input is available with some operating systems. Continuous speech voice recognition software that provides text input, mouse control and software application control, including optional levels of vocabulary and macros for various professions or specialty groups, is also available. Although voice models in the system allow the recognition of words without explicit training, each user has their own voice model file, which should be adjusted to allow optimal recognition. Proper maintenance of the voice model requires vigilance to errors made by the user and the system and proper correction of the errors. Most voice dictation systems have very large dictionaries, but the user must add proper names and specialized vocabulary. Several dictation systems rely on mouse controls to navigate the desktop and dictation functions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Many people with a severe physical disability may also have speech impairments. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is a way of communicating, not only for those with speech impairment but also for those with difficulty in comprehending spoken or written language.68 AAC strategies vary from the use of symbols or gestures to the use of AAC devices such as (a) text-to-speech generating (Fig 3.3) devices and (b) speech generating (Fig 3.4) devices. While AAC strategies and devices are not an integral part of enabling computer access, they are essential in enabling two-way communication in an inclusive education, job-skill training or work environment with teachers, trainers, fellow students and work colleagues.

Fig 3.3 Keyboard text-to-speech generating device69

Fig 3.4 Speech generating device
The following video shows how Ellen, an AT user, uses switches and an AAC device to communicate, access a computer and control her surroundings at home and at college. �
67Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Access_device.JPG Debbie L OU 68http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmentative_and_alternative_communication International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communications (ISAAC) http://www.isaac-online.org/en/publications/index.html 69http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dynawrite.jpg


3.1.2 Accessible buildings and workstations
In addition to providing the correct assistive technology, it is important that the design of the building does not present a barrier. To ensure that a school, training center or community center is accessible to persons with disabilities, builders should refer to appropriate building accessibility guidelines and national or regional building regulations. However, the following checklist provides some of the main areas to consider: * External environment – e.g. parking spaces, entrance doors * Horizontal circulation – e.g. internal door design and width, corridors, signage and way-finding * Vertical circulation – e.g. internal stairs, elevators and ramps * Facilities – e.g. accessible toilets

* Emergency egress – e.g. auditory and visual alarm systems, evacuation policies, evacuation chairs * Accessible entrances – level entry or a mixture of steps and ramp70 The path to the computer workstation must be free from obstacles such as steps, bins or furniture that would obstruct the progress of users who are either walking or using a mobility aid such as a wheelchair. This includes the path into any room or area containing the computer workstation. The user should be able to operate the computer from a clear, flat area with at least a 1.5 meter radius directly in front of the computer workstation to enable a wheelchair to turn (Fig 3.5). Ensure that users of all heights can reach all operable parts. The comfortable range is between 1200 and 900mm. The maximum acceptable reach height for wheelchair users is 1400mm (See Figure.3.6). There should be adequate lighting.

The United Nations has a useful set of anthropometrical data covering ranges of height and reach when standing or sitting in a wheelchair, plus required path and turning space dimensions for wheelchairs.71

Figure 3.5 Wheelchair clearance and turning circle72

Figure 3.6 Common reach zones73
Physical access to the computer itself is also a key consideration. Physical access may be improved by simply repositioning the user or the computer system. This can be accomplished by using height-adjustable chairs, computer tables, keyboard trays, or monitor arms. Many of these solutions can be quite costly, but by adhering to the principles of ergonomic design for workstations, it should be possible in many situations to adjust an existing workstation to better suit the needs of an individual.74 Providing additional stabilizers or supports may improve control and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.


70National Disability Authority, “Building for Everyone - Inclusion, Access and Use” http://www.nda.ie/cntmgmtnew.nsf/0/EBD4FB92816E8BB480256C830060F761?OpenDocument 71http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/designm/AD5-02.htm

72Irish National IT Accessibility Guidelines, Public Access Terminals. National Disability Authority. http://universaldesign.ie/useandapply/ict/itaccessibilityguidelines/publicaccessterminals/guidelines/priority-1/1-14 73Irish National IT Accessibility Guidelines, Public Access Terminals. National Disability Authority. http://universaldesign.ie/useandapply/ict/itaccessibilityguidelines/publicaccessterminals/guidelines/priority-1/1-1 7412 ergonomic guidelines adapted from Cornell University studies help improve your computer working environment and comfort.” http://www.ergoindemand.com/ergonomic-computer-workstation-guidelines.htm http://books.google.ie/books?id=A8TPF_O385AC&pg=PA316&lpg=PA316&dq=accessible+computer+workstati


3.2 Assisting the blind or vision-impaired
There are an estimated 180 million people worldwide who have a visual impairment. Of these, 45 million persons are blind and 135 million have partial sight.75 Legal blindness is defined in many countries as a condition in which the best corrected visual acuity is 20/200, or less, or the person's visual field is 20 degrees or less.76 Vision impairments include colour blindness, and vision disorders include cataracts, trachoma, glaucoma and macular degeneration.77 75Lighthouse International, available at http://www.lighthouse.org/research/statistics-on-vision-impairment/ World Health Organization, November 2004, "Fact sheet 282: Magnitude and causes of visual impairment, available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/ " World Health Organization, November 2004 76The WebAim Guide to Web Accessibility (2005) Available from the WebAIM project at http://www.webaim.org/products/training/ 77For a further list of vision disorders see http://www.lighthouse.org/about-low-vision-blindness/vision-disorders/ �

3.2.1 Assistive Technology for blindness or vision impairment Blind persons and persons with vision impairment can use a variety of assistive technologies to access computers and electronic content. * Enhancements to the visual display of the computer - Adjustments can be made to the visual display using built-in system controls or free software. These adjustments provide higher contrast and can enlarge icons, display fonts and mouse cursors. * Screen magnification - Screen magnification may be possible within the operating system of the computer. A large number of screen magnification programs are also available. * Alternatives to the visual display - These include screen readers, which speak the text displayed on the screen, and refreshable Braille displays, which translate the text to Braille. Examples of screen readers include the following: JAWS, NVDA, Windows Eyes, Homepage Reader and ORCA. * Optical character recognition (OCR) - Document scanners, in conjunction with OCR software, can translate printed text to electronic text that can be magnified or read aloud using the AT mentioned above. * Notetakers, or accessible Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) - These are specialized and portable combined hardware and software solutions that typically incorporate a refreshable Braille display and screen-reading functionality. Examples include Braille 'n Speak, Type 'n Speak, Braille Lite Millennium (or 2000), Type Lite, BrailleNote (and VoiceNote), PAC Mate and BrailleSense.78 These devices cost in the region of USD 6,000 or more. * Braillers - Brailler is the name generally given to a low-tech mechanical device, similar to a typewriter, with the capability for direct output of embossed Braille onto paper.

Fig 3.7 Example of a Notetaker with an 18 cell Braille display, 9 buttons of Braille dot based input, a speaker and audio jack for audio output79 The following video shows a demonstration of the BrailleNote computer.�� The following video is a basic overview of the JAWS screen reader.� �

78For a comparison of Notetakers versus laptop computers for the blind, please see http://nfb.org/legacy/bm/bm03/bm0304/bm030407.htm For further information on Notetakes and Accessible PDAs please see http://www.myflorida.com/dbs/assistive-technology/notetakers.php 79Device shown is a BrailleNote from HumanWare


3.2.2 Accessible media and formats
Students with vision impairments or print disabilities80 (i.e. cannot perceive written text) may require information to be made accessible in a variety of formats and ways: * Braille - A tactile system using patterns of raised dots representing letters and numbers. Braille is produced using a special printer, called an embosser, but can also be produced using accessible PDAs (above) or by attaching refreshable Braille output devices to a standard computer.81 * Large print – Printed text in which font sizes are typically increased to 16 points or larger, benefiting persons with mild vision impairment * Electronic formats including:

o Word-processed documents - Such as those produced by MS Word and OpenOffice Writer o Talking books – Either narrated by a human or converted automatically into synthesized speech (a Digital Talking Book). Free online service and downloadable services are available to convert text files into synthesized speech audio files in formats such as MP3. o Accessible HTML82 or PDF83

o DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) Digital Talking Book (DTB) – a DAISY DTB can include audio (human or synthesized) speech, which can be navigated, and a synchronized text version of the book. Depending on its configuration, a DAISY DTD can be listened to on a computer or standalone audio player, rendered using a refreshable Braille display, read on screen or listened to with synchronized text displayed on screen. o ePub – an open standard for eBooks used on some popular eBook players. �

80Print disabled: A person who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability. http://www.daisy.org/glossary/12#term325 81http://www.freedomscientific.com/news/pressroom/2010/Braille-Prices-Support-Braille-Literacy.asp 82http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

83http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/

3.2.3 Costs and trends in the use and provision of Braille
The development of educational content in any of the formats designed to assist the blind and vision-impaired requires needs assessment at the earliest stages of content development. While cost is a major consideration in resource-limited countries, no studies are available on the relative costs of production and consumption of content in different accessible formats. Each format has different cost implications. For example, Braille printers cost between USD 1,800 (for low volume) and USD 80,000 (for high volume models).85 Even though audio books and DAISY books can be produced at no cost using free software, the distribution of that content may require the student to have access to a laptop or specialized audio player such as a DAISY reader -- bringing a cost to the end user. The following issues should be considered:

* What are the national policies and trends in relation to the use of Braille? Schoolchildren in developed countries, like the U.S. and the UK, are now thought to have lower Braille literacy as a result of using high-tech solutions such as screen readers coupled with accessible websites and documents. Their Braille literacy may be lower than among children in developing nations, like Indonesia and Botswana, where there are few alternatives to Braille.86 87 88 88 89 * For a vision impaired student who has not received instruction in Braille, content in audio format may be preferable. * The level of built-in accessibility features varies among the different formats. For example, the DAISY format has been specifically designed with the needs of print-disabled users in mind. And content in HTML or PDF that conforms to the international standard for Web accessibility contains many more accessibility features than an electronic document produced using software such as MS Word or OpenOffice Writer. * While many electronic formats can be produced for "free," more time and expertise is typically required to produce content in accessible HTML or PDF than in other electronic text formats. * How will the content be distributed, and will the student be able to access it? * Whatever the format provided, what is the potential to centralize its production, hence reducing costs? Whatever the format used, it is imperative that the needs of the students are assessed through consultation with the students and their families or advocates. Several resources for the development, production and distribution of accessible electronic content in educational settings are provided in Section 9. �

85http://www.afb.org/ProdBrowseCatResults.asp?CatID=45
86http://blindaccessjournal.com/?p=924
87http://open.salon.com/blog/the_biblio_files/2010/02/02/listening_isnt_reading_--_why_braille_is_still_necessary 88Numbers of blind children learning Braille in US down from 50 per cent in 1950s to 10 per cent today 89http://blindaccessjournal.com/?p=924


3.2.4 Considerations when choosing a Braille printer
One of the principle pieces of Braille equipment used by schools and universities is a Braille printer. Translation software converts an electronic text file into Braille code -- either grade 1 or 2. Grade 2 Braille contains contractions of commonly used combinations of words and letters. The Braille printer uses Braille code to emboss the Braille dots onto the paper, which generally heavier than inkjet printer paper. Interpoint printers can emboss Braille on both sides of the paper. Braille printers vary greatly in price. The main difference between printers is the volume of Braille they can produce. Quality Braille production also requires some level of training and knowledge of Braille, the translation software, and use of a Braille printer. So it may not be practical for all schools using Braille for their students to run and maintain a Braille printer. When choosing a Braille printer, considerations should include: * The need for Braille – Establish the exact number of students needing Braille and the likely volumes for each student. These numbers are best derived through consultation with students and their families or advocates. * The volume of Braille likely to be produced - Determine the volume of class texts that will be produced in Braille. An important consideration is that Braille production requires the original source document to be available in electronic text. * Lead-in time – When is the Braille required, and can it be provided in time for students to keep pace with the class? In one Kenyan school, it takes four to six months for updated Braille versions of textbooks to arrive.90 * Specialist knowledge – Braille is best produced by a trained Braille transcriber who is familiar with the translation software and the different grades of Braille, and who can provide some proofing of the embossed Braille. * Local or centralized production - Consideration should be given to centralizing the production of Braille. An underutilized Braille printer may be available for use in another school or facility. * Location – Braille printers vary in size but all are noisy, due to the mechanical nature of Braille embossing. Consideration should be given to where the printer will be housed. Costs – It may be cheaper to run a larger Braille printer in a central location that will serve a number of schools than to run and maintain multiple smaller printers. Consideration should also be given to the cost of other high-tech solutions such as a screen reader. See the case study from Kenya in which laptops and ATs for blind students were provided by an international aid organization and an AT vendor at a reduced rate to university students. The laptops and ATs were provided at a cost of USD 250, compared with USD 400 for a Brailler. �

90 http://www.yourdolphin.com/productdetail.asp?id=8&act=show&csid=50&z=5 3.3 Deaf and hard of hearing
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines deafness as complete loss of the ability to hear from one or both ears. This is profound hearing impairment -- 81 dB or greater hearing threshold, averaged at frequencies 0.5, 1, 2, 4 kHz. The WHO defines hearing impairment as a complete or partial loss of the ability to hear from one or both ears. This represents mild or worse hearing impairment of a 26 dB or greater hearing threshold, averaged at frequencies 0.5, 1, 2, 4 kHz.91 Some 250 million people in the world are estimated as having a disabling hearing impairment.92 The barriers encountered by children with a hearing impairment in inclusive schools relate primarily to communication. Assistive technologies for hearing

The predominant AT used by people with a hearing impairment is a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sound from the surrounding environment, but may also be used to amplify signals produced by a T-loop system.93 A T-loop picks up audio from a microphone and transmits a signal within the area of a wire loop directly to a compatible hearing aid. Alternative formats

Issues encountered by deaf people when using a computer to access electronic content relate primarily to audio. Captioning is the rendering of speech and other audible information in the written language of the audio. Captions can be closed, meaning that they are encoded and can be toggled on or off if the user’s browser or media player can decode them. Or, they are open -- they are presented at the same time as the visual content. Captions are more sophisticated than subtitles, which are suited for hearing people who do not understand the language of the content. Captions may provide meta-information about who is speaking or the tone of the voice, and they can denote other sounds that occur on the sound-track of the content. World Wide Web authors are becoming aware of the need to develop caption and file formats that accommodate a captioning track. Caption-authoring packages are available to add multimedia, overlay captioning to computer-based video.94 The online video-sharing website YouTube has introduced an automatic captioning service.95 Text transcripts or captions for learning resources or training materials enable access to these materials by literate students with hearing impairments. Text captions also aid comprehension by students whose first language is that not that of the course material. Many deaf people96 use sign language, which they may consider to be their first language. Sign language may also be used in audio/visual materials, with a sign language interpreter appearing in the bottom right corner of the screen to provide a sign language interpretation of the speech in the audio track. The following video shows how the use of captions and audio descriptions are essential for both deaf and blind students in the use of educational materials. 91World Health Organisation http://www.who.int/pbd/deafness/facts/en/ 92http://www.who.int/pbd/deafness/facts/en/

93A T-loop is a wire fixed around a designated listening area connected to a power source, an amplifier and a microphone. The microphone picks up sound from the sound source (which may be a television, a bank official or an actor in a theatre) and carries the sound to the amplifier which, in turn, sends the sound signal in the form of a current around the loop. A hearing aid user whose hearing aid has the 'T' facility, picks up the signal by moving a switch to the 'T' position. http://www.deafhear.ie/documents/pdf/04SG1207.pdf 94WebAim article on “Software for creating captions” http://www.webaim.org/techniques/captions/software.php 95Note: this service is still in beta (test) and has a low rate of accuracy http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=100077 96Include note on deaf culture and Deaf with a capital “D” �

3.4 Cognitive impairments
The “Disabled World” project proposes two main classifications of cognitive disabilities – namely, functional or clinical disability.97 Clinical categories of cognitive disabilities include autism and Down Syndrome. Less severe cognitive conditions include the sub-category of so-called learning disabilities, such as dyslexia (reading) and dyscalculia (mathematics). The functional disability perspective ignores the medical and behavioural causes of cognitive disabilities and focuses instead on the abilities and challenges the person with a cognitive disability faces. Functional cognitive disabilities may involve difficulties or deficits involving: o Problem-solving,

o Attention,
o Memory,
o Math comprehension,
o Visual comprehension,
o Reading,
o Linguistic (speech), and
o Verbal comprehension.

It is somewhat more useful to consider the use of accessible ICTs to aid cognitive impairments from the functional disability perspective. ICT can play a major role in enabling access to education for all types of cognitive impairments. The following list shows the benefits that access to ICTs can bring to people within the wide spectrum of learning disabilities.98 These include: * Improved writing – Standard word processors contain built-in tools for checking grammar, spell-checking and predictive typing.99 Specialized writing support programs, such as Clicker 5, can aid word recognition and writing through the use of symbols or pictures and speech-supported grids.100 * Multimedia - The use of multi-media such as graphics, sound and video can stimulate and encourage interaction and some degree of learning for people with more profound cognitive impairments, as well as for pre-literate children. Much of the software required to create multimedia is freely available online. * Sensory stimulation - The use of switches, combined with specialized software games can enable some people with profound and multiple learning difficulties to play basic cause-and-effect games and even develop some basic computer interaction skills. In addition to these computer-based activities, the use of augmentative and alternative communication strategies and devices, particularly those employing symbols, can aid communication for persons with more profound and multiple learning impairments. 97Webaim Project [WWW document] http://www.webaim.org/techniques (retrieved 1 March 2008) 98http://www.bltt.org/index.htm Charlie Danger is a freelance technology assessor and occupation al therapy (OT) student at Brighton University 99MS Word or OpenOffice

100http://www.cricksoft.com/uk/products/clicker/

3.5 Equipping inclusive schools with accessible ICTs
The clear position of the United Nations, UNESCO and the WSIS Plan of Action is that children with disabilities should be able to receive an inclusive education through the use of accessible ICTs. National policies should avoid the development of a two-tier educational system consisting of ‘normal’ schools and special schools for children with disabilities. Section 2 showed that funding models for special schools are likely to incur twice the costs of educating children in inclusive schools. Similarly, it was shown that the cost of including accessibility in the development of school buildings, software and equipment procurement can significantly reduce the overall costs of accommodating these requirements. The budget required to equip inclusive schools with accessible ICTs should be established by education ministries and local education authorities in close consultation with students, their families and advocates and relevant disabled persons’ organizations. Careful research should be carried out to establish which ICTs are most required. Schools that accommodate the needs of their students with disabilities will likely have more need for Internet access. Economies associated with bulk purchasing should be realized through centralized procurement, using appropriate public procurement policies wherever possible. However, each school should be equipped according to the needs of that school’s children. Blanket provision of AT should be avoided in favour of each school defining its own requirements. Within resource-limited countries, careful research and planning is required to help prioritize the main types of support and AT required. The main challenge is to “make products and services available, accessible and affordable”.101 Consideration should be given to reducing or waiving import duties and taxes on the ICTs required to enable persons with disabilities to access an equitable education. An AT ecosystem is needed to ensure that the infrastructure, personnel and products are available. Assessment and support services, such as installation, training and follow-up (to ensure safe and efficient use) are an important part of this ecosystem. The next section deals with the development and implementation of accessible ICTs within an inclusive school system, and the stakeholders and roles involved in the development of a sustainable AT ecosystem. �

101Borg, J., Assistive technology in developing countries: national and international responsibilities to implement the Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities. Available at http://www.thelancetglobalhealthnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/Disability-REV-3.pdf 4 Developing and implementing accessible, ICT-connected schools “Ensuring that children with disabilities enjoy opportunities for learning in an inclusive environment requires changes in attitude, backed by investment in teacher training and learning equipment”. Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2010102 The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities contains very specific guidance on the rights of persons with disabilities to enjoy equal access to education, job training and employment. The Convention places a particular emphasis on the provision of accessible ICTs as a key enabler to the enjoyment of these rights. Any policy to implement accessible ICTs in connected schools should be developed within the framework of the Convention, and should be based on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) principles, actions and targets, with due regard to national and regional conditions. In Section 1 and Section 2, inclusive education – the enrollment of children in mainstream classrooms --was shown to offer a cost-effective approach to reaching the large numbers of children with disabilities in developing countries. Inherent in inclusive education is the notion that reforms and improvements should not only focus on children with disabilities but on “whole-school improvement in order to remove barriers that prevent learning for all students.”103 This section outlines good practices in policy development for the introduction of accessible ICTs in connected schools. It provides principles and elements that can be incorporated into educational policy reforms in any developing country. Inclusive education cannot be built and delivered all at one time.104 To develop sensible and practical policy that is properly embedded into the educational and assistive technology (AT) environment of a country, policy-makers must consider how to transition from their current model to an inclusive model. This will involve considering the development of a national-level statement of principles, intentions, means, objectives and timetables relating to the provision of accessible ICTS in inclusive schools. Evidence-based policy on the successful provision and use of ICTs will require identifying the gaps as they currently exist; research into the current landscape is critical. �

102http://www.unesco.org/en/efareport page 12
103Global eSchools and Community Initiative (GeSCI). 2007. Concept note: Developing a model for inclusive education and assistive technology appropriate for teaching and learning contexts in developing countries. Available at http://www.gesci.org/old/files/docman/model_ie_at.pdf 104Lynch, P. (2007) External Trends on Education. (Sightsavers international (internal document). Cited in GeSCI page 6. �

4.1 National policy reform
National “e-strategies,” framed within the WSIS Principles and Goals (Section 8), include policy areas such as connectivity, (e.g. broadband rollout), capacity building (e.g. training in use of ICTs for all sectors of society, including teachers and persons with disabilities), and education (provision of ICTs in schools). Policies and programmes in support of accessible ICTs in connected schools will therefore cut across several policy areas, including: * Education,

* Telecommunications,
* E-government,
* Finance and public procurement,
* Import/customs duties and taxation,
* Welfare and employment, and
* Equality.
UNESCO’s Institute for Information Technology in Education (IITE) views policy development for the use of accessible ICTs in schools as a “complex proposition based on the principle that technology is not only a tool,” it also requires “a shift in the focus from technology provision to the design of learning environments.”105 Policy development has, therefore, moved from an exclusive focus on the provision of hardware and software to the effective use of ICTs in different educational contexts. UNESCO suggests four stages for the successful integration of accessible ICTs in an inclusive educational environment. This includes the design and development of the accessible ICTs, their implementation and improvement, and the assessment of their benefits (Fig 4.1) Figure 4.1 Stages for policy development

Source: UNESCO IITE

Based on these four stages, UNESCO IITE provides a useful listing of policy activities that policy- makers can undertake under each of these headings, plus a range of indicative sources of evidence and information for each.106 See Checklist for policy makers. 105UNESCO IITE ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs. http://www.iite.ru/pics/publications/files/3214644.pdf page 95 106UNESCO IITE page 96-97


4.1.1 Six key policy areas in developing and implementing accessible ICTs in connected schools In conjunction with the four stages of policy development, policy-makers should consider several key elements. Based on a study by the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education,107 the following six elements are particularly important for national-level accessible ICT policies: * Infrastructure – This includes statistics on connected schools with Internet access, the number of computers available in schools, the availability of assistive technologies, the use of computers and other forms of ICTs as pedagogical tools by teachers. * Availability of support – Closely related to infrastructure, this looks at the range of support available to teachers and students from national agencies for ICT in education. This can extend from support services that work directly with children and teachers, to in-school supports, to access to specialist resource centers. * Needs assessment -- While needs assessment systems for children identified as having a disability may already be in place, they should incorporate a clear statement of needs that cover the ATs and related supports required to enable the child to receive an education in an inclusive school environment. * Training – A key element of support is in training specific to the teaching of children with disabilities. A key element of that will be the use of accessible ICTs, which includes training during initial teacher orientation and in-service training. The availability of relevant support and training is often cited by teachers as an area of equal importance to the availability of appropriate hardware and software. * Co-operation/research – A key element in building capacity within a country’s educational system is the development of a sustainable AT ecosystem. This includes ongoing research into the needs and experiences of both learners and teachers, sharing of experiences and expertise, and research into the development of new and better AT solutions and service-delivery models. * Evaluation – Implementation of various policy reforms must be monitored to determine whether they will achieve their stated goals and to analyze and interpret the results and inform further policy intervention. �

107http://www.european-agency.org/publications/ereports/key-principles-in-special-needs-education/key-principles-in-special-needs-education 4.1.2 Research in support of evidenced-based policy development Policy-makers will have to undertake a small number of research studies to support the development of effective policy.108 Very little is known about the provision of ATs in developing countries at present, other than it is very low - only 3 per cent of the number of hearing aids required in any one year become available in that year.109 It is likely that these research efforts will significantly improve the quality and effectiveness of policy measures. Research into the attitudes of teachers, students and their families or care-givers toward the use and benefits of accessible ICTs will also be necessary. The pedagogical preferences and skills of teachers should be established. Research should also establish the competency of teachers and school systems to develop accessible learning resources and what training supports they may need. The existence of relevant services already in place should also be established. These include the existence of community-based rehabilitation services, teacher training programmes, and facilities to produce low-tech solutions such as school books in Braille.110 In order to develop evidence-based policy, research will be required on: * National demographics on persons with disabilities – the numbers likely to benefit from accessible ICTs in schools/community ICT centers. * Current ICT infrastructure within the schools, including the number of computers already in schools and the number of schools connected to the Internet. * Current usage of ICTs in schools – i.e., how and for what computers are used. * Types and numbers of accessible ICTs required.

* In-country availability of required accessible ICTs.
* Likely costs and strategies for development of alternate solutions, including open-source solutions. * Preparedness of teachers to incorporate accessible ICTs into their pedagogical practices. * Attitudes and knowledge of students, parents and teachers towards accessible ICTs. * Availability of support networks.

108 Borg, J. et al. Assistive Technology in developing countries: national and international responsibilities to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Available at www.thelancetglobalhealthnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/Disability-REV-3.pdf 109WHO. 2004. Guidelines for hearing aids and services for developing countries. Available at http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2004/9241592435_eng.pdf 110Casely-Hayford, L.; Lynch, P. A review of good practice in ICT and special educational needs for Africa. Available at http://www.eldis.org/assets/Docs/14727.html. The report cites Ghana’s Material Resource Centre for the Disabled as an example of a centre which produces learning material for children with disabilities. �


4.1.3 Stakeholders and consultations
A range of organizations and stakeholders will be responsible for policy implementation. Overall responsibility will likely lie at the ministerial or regional government level, depending on the size and autonomy of regions. Stakeholders will include: * National and regional educational authorities, from the ministry of education to regional educational authorities. * School boards, principles, teachers and accessible ICT specialists and support staff. * Private and public service providers, from Internet service providers to specialized assistive technology practitioners and vendors and mainstream ICT providers (local, national or multinationals). * State or privately funded, not-for-profit disability service providers. * Persons with disabilities, their families, care-givers and advocates. * Disabled persons advocacy organizations.

* National and regional ministries and regulatory authorities in charge of ICT and telecommunication policy, strategy and regulation. * International, national and regional telecommunication regulatory authorities. * The scientific, research and academic community.

* International aid organizations and charities.
One of the primary aims of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is to place persons with disabilities at the center of relevant policy development. The ITU/G3ict e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit provides practical tips on conducting accessible meetings and conferences. The ITU/G3ict Toolkit also suggests that “representatives of persons with disabilities can facilitate the administration of surveys needed to obtain data about accessible ICT and assistive technology needs.” It is essential that the needs of children with disabilities, as well as the needs of their teachers, parents and care-givers are systematically gathered and taken into consideration at all stages of the development of policy on the use of accessible ICTs in connected schools. 4.1.4 Special policy considerations for persons with disabilities While policy-development methodologies will vary from country to country and are dependent on the level (national, regional, local) at which they are developed, some special considerations should be taken into account when developing policies for persons with disabilities. The following considerations from the Centre for Internet and Society111 in India will help policy-makers to design policies that help persons with disabilities more effectively: * Involving persons with disabilities and their care-givers or advocates is a key component of the entire policy-development process. * Face-to-face consultations are important, particularly in areas where there is no existing access to the Internet or computers in schools. * It is important to build capacity and awareness of the benefits of accessible ICTs for teachers, students and their parents and care-givers. Many persons with disabilities and their families may be unaware of their rights, or of the benefits of using accessible ICTs for education, job training and employment. * The absence of a business case does not eliminate the need or the right to seek a policy on the use of accessible ICTs to enable inclusive education. While no figures are currently available on the return on investment in developing countries for the provision of accessible ICTs, research shows an overall positive cost benefit to countries of inclusive education. * A mix of approaches should be considered toward incentivizing and obliging the adoption of new policy. For example, AT development companies could be given tax breaks, and educational systems could be obliged to meet certain targets. * Policy-makers should not be reluctant to cooperate with disabled persons organizations in developing, promoting, implementing and monitoring implementation of policy. 111Policy Formulation for Internet and Electronic Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, Ms. Nirmita Narasimhan, Programme Manager, Centre for Internet and Society http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/asp/CMS/Events/2009/PwDs/programme.asp#Nirmita 4.1.5 Evaluation and monitoring

The policy framework should monitor and evaluate outcomes and the cost-effectiveness of the provision of accessible ICTs. The monitoring of outcomes should incorporate: * Outcomes for the individual user – what improved level of access to education has been recorded.;Most popular and successfully used types of AT; * Experiences of teachers in incorporating the use of AT into the curriculum; and * Level of AT abandonment, if any, and reasons for that abandonment. The overall cost-benefit analysis of provding accessible ICTs to the inclusive educational agenda within a country should also refer to: * Benefits and possibilities of accessible ICTs in enabling persons with disabilities to receive an education and to work in a variety of jobs and professions; * Social justice and wide social inclusion goals, empowerment of persons with disabilities through education and job training; * Reduction in poverty;

* Benefits to the economy;
* Ratification of conventions (UN CRPD and UNICEF);
* Meeting international policy goals (MDGs and WSIS); and * Any relevant regional ICT initiatives.
See more on the wider costs of exclusion.
4.2 Supporting teachers and students
If the real potential of ICT for pupils’ learning is to be reached, teachers will first have to be convinced of the value of using ICT.112 Pre-service and in-service teacher-education programmes on accessible ICTs are essential if teachers are to attain the pedagogical capacity necessary to make accessible ICTs a viable option for mainstreaming children with disabilities in inclusive schools. The availability of appropriate support structures for implementing accessible ICTs in an inclusive school setting has been stressed as being as important for many teachers as the provision of the appropriate hardware and software.113 The UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies (IITE) provides an in-depth resource on the training of teachers in the use of accessible ICTs for Special Needs Education (SNE). This training comprises four modules covering (1) an overview of the place of accessible ICTs in SNE, (2) ATs for students with disabilities, (3) the use of ICTs in distance education for students with special educational needs and (4) the role of policy in the implementation of ICT in SNE. Figure 4.2 UNESCO IITE ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs114

While it is not necessary for teachers to have in-depth knowledge of assistive technologies and devices, it is important that they receive supported in developing educational material and resources that are accessible for all students. Another key resource is the report “A review of good practice in ICT and Special Educational Needs for Africa.” Commissioned by the Ghanaian Ministry of Education in 2003, this report contains suggestions for curriculum development, training of teachers and practical advice on such things as setting up a resource room for the use of ICTs. Resources for teachers

The section on technical resources has a range of resources for teachers to become familiar with the use of ATs and accessible formats in the classroom curriculum. Those resources could be incorporated into both pre- and in-service training for teachers. Policy-makers should also consider supporting and funding the development of distance learning courses in the use of accessible ICTs in inclusive classrooms for in-service training of teachers. One of the first things teachers should learn is about the accessibility features in technologies they already know and use. The Microsoft guide “Accessibility: A Guide for Educators” provides information about accessibility and accessible technology to help educators worldwide ensure that all students have equal access to learning with technology. The guide provides: * Detailed guidance on using the accessibility features in Microsoft products, * An understanding of accessibility and how it impacts the classroom, * Definitions of impairment types and technology solutions for each type of impairment, * Guidance on choosing accessible technology solutions, and * Resources for more information.

Links to resources on using the accessibility features of other major operating systems such as Apple OS X and Linux are available on the e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit website.� 112European Agency

113European Agency
114UNESCO IITE ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs. http://www.iite.ru/pics/publications/files/3214644.pdf

4.2.1 Integration and use of accessible ICTs in school curriculum UNESCO defines curriculum as “what is learned and what is taught (context): how it is delivered (teaching – learning methods); how it is assessed (exams, for example); and the resources used (e.g. books used to deliver and support teaching and learning).”115 Curriculum development and teaching practices have received much attention in the movement toward inclusive education. In general, curriculum in inclusive schools must be “flexible and adaptable, designed to reduce environmental barriers of students who may disadvantage [sic] from regular education.”116 Accessible ICTs can help transform static curriculum resources into flexible digital media that students with a variety of abilities can access once they have the appropriate AT. For example, class notes developed in electronic text can be converted into a variety of formats such as audio, Braille, accessible HTML, DAISY audio book etc. Assessment methods need to be flexible and adaptable to students’ needs. The introduction of any new ICT or AT should be complemented by sufficient technical support in order to reduce the stakes of abandonment. The mostly likely source of this ongoing support is through centers of specialized knowledge located within local or regional school networks. It is important to differentiate between (a) the specialized support and training required by both students and teachers in the use of specific ATs in classroom settings and (b) the use of accessible ICTs generally to improve access to curriculum. For example, in the Kenyan case study, blind students were given specific training in the use of screen-reading technology before they were able to use the technology to access educational materials in the mainstream classroom.117 However, once this training was received, teachers were then required to provide learning materials in a format (electronic) that was compatible with the screen reader. Therefore, in line with the principles of Universal Design, national policies on curriculum development should require that learning resources, such as text books, be made available in alternate formats. In general, a connected school that uses accessible ICTs to enable students with disabilities to receive an education in an inclusive environment will need to adopt the use of ICT in all areas of curriculum development. While it is beyond the scope of this toolkit to make specific recommendations on curriculum development, UNESCO identifies four key curriculum areas through which ICT skills and literacy can be improved. These are: (i) ICT literacy – ICT skills are taught and learned as a separate subject. (ii) Application of ICTs in subject areas – ICT skills are developed within separate subjects. (iii) Infusing ICTs into the entire curriculum – ICTs are integrated or embedded across all subjects of the curriculum. (iv) ICT specialization – ICTs are taught and learned as an applied subject to train for a profession.118 116UNESCO IITE page 110

117http://www.yourdolphin.com/productdetail.asp?id=8&act=show&csid=50&z=5 118UNESCO (2002). Information and Communication Technology in Education: a Curriculum for Schools and Programme of Teacher Development, Paris. Online: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001295/129538e.pdf Cited in UNESCO IITE page 111 �

4.2.2 Assistive technology and needs assessment
As advised above, the procurement of assistive technology (AT) should be informed by research into the needs and requirement of individual schools and students. An effective needs assessment model will identify the appropriate AT to suit an individual user’s needs. (See section on technical resources for resources on needs assessment and AT). The Assistive Technology Decision Tree by UnumProvident provides a process by which to pick the correct choice of AT based on a person’s functional limitations.119 Needs assessment should be carried out by qualified personnel with expertise in AT. The assessment may be carried out by a specialist visiting the school, in consultation with the child’s teacher, family and care-givers, or at an existing community rehabilitation facility. Once the needs assessment has identified the AT requirements of the student, these requirements should be formally communicated to the educational authorities. Whatever the funding strategies and level of AT provision by the school system, it is imperative that this clear statement of a child’s AT requirements be recognized and achieved over time. Teachers, parents and children with disabilities need accurate information on the types and ranges of ATs available. Policy-makers should consider developing national databases on the types of ATs available, as well as lists of suppliers. This will also help identify gaps in the availability of certain ATs in any given country. �

119http://www.microsoft.com/enable/download/default.aspx#righttech 4.3 Funding strategies
The provision of accessible ICTs and the introduction of support services, such as teacher training and student needs assessment, will require significant funding, which may present a challenge to some governments in developing countries. Key funding areas will include the provision of assistive technology (AT), related specialized support services for students, and teacher training. 4.3.1 Sustainable funding

One of the key research findings on ATs in developing countries is the need for a sustainable funding model. While the initial capital needed to provide the equipment and software is of course necessary, it is vital that consideration also be given to ongoing support and maintenance of this equipment. The following best practices are based on the case studies in this module; they point to a variety of funding strategies and partners. These partners include government (national and regional), educational authorities, private industry (local and international), and international aid organizations. Provision of subsidized AT from AT vendors and charitable organizations Several projects around the world provide computers and other ATs to schools and telecenters in developing countries, at a significantly reduced rate or for free. Charitable organizations and multinational companies provide heavily subsidized or free laptops and computers with ATs. In one project supported by Sight Savers International, 45 refurbished laptops, supplied by ComputerAid (the UK based PC recycling charity), and flash drives containing screen readers and magnifiers by Dolphin (the UK based assistive technology developer) were provided to blind students at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. At a cost of USD 250 for each laptop and flash drive, the prices “compare very well with Braillers and Braille books.”120 See more on this in the case study from Kenya.

In comparison to this approach, the POETA project, based in Latin America and the Caribbean, works with local non-governmental organizations over a longer term to develop IT training centers that contain ATs and provide job-training skills to persons with disabilities (see POETA case study). This longer- term approach works to develop accessible IT training centers, with the ultimate of making them self-sustaining. One study of the POETA centers found that participants, at least anecdotally, were willing to pay a nominal fee to attend the courses.121 This study also found that while the cost of AT is a significant barrier to access for persons with disabilities in developing countries, it is critical that funding strategies go beyond “parachuting-in technology” and look to support projects that will empower persons with disabilities through long-term access to AT.122 This presents a significant challenge from the ”corporate social responsibility” perspective, whereby funding and/or technology are often provided on a once-off basis.123 Therefore, whatever funding strategy is used to capitalize the initial provision of AT in connected schools, governments and educational authorities will need to be able to support students and teachers alike in the use of ATs, and in their incorporation into the inclusive curriculum of a school. �

120 http://www.yourdolphin.com/productdetail.asp?id=8&act=show&csid=50&z=5 121Technology and Social Change (TASCHA) group, University of Washington. Technology for employability in Latin America: Research with at-risk youth & people with disabilities http://cis.washington.edu/files/2009/11/tascha_ict-employability-latin-america_200910.pdf 122TASCHA study page 86

123TASCHA study page 84

4.3.2 Proprietary and “free and open-source” software
Another important procurement consideration for policy-makers is the choice between proprietary or open-source software and AT. Proprietary software is developed and licensed by a private company, and is supplied on a for-profit basis. Typically, the software code cannot be reused or because of licensing arrangements. Open-source software allows the reuse and repurposing of code under certain licensing conditions such as the General Public License (GPL). The “free” in “free and open-source” software refers to the freedom to modify computer code -- not necessarily the availability of software for free.124 Many open source software products are available free of charge, but governments or schools may have to incur a cost for this software to be developed into a service or solution that meets their needs. For example, an organization using an open-source content management system (CMS) may need to pay a web developer to develop the website using that CMS. So while the source code of the CMS is available free of charge, the organization may have to pay for a specialist to develop and perhaps maintain the website. Similarly, a school system that chooses to supply open-source ATs to its students may need to pay for services such as teacher and staff training in the use of the ATs, as well as support for maintaining and upgrading them. While some of the case studies (Kenya) show that schools and universities can and do benefit from donations of proprietary software and ATs by companies and charitable organizations, the total demand for ATs required in-country is unlikely to be met through this supply model alone. On the other hand, the supply and use of open-source solutions requires a level of in-country expertise for installation, training and support. This also has cost implications. So policy-makers should consider which approach will work in the short, medium and long term. Whatever the model or mix of models chosen, it will be necessary to support ongoing research and development into new AT solutions at university and industry levels. One key issue for research and development is the need to provide ATs in the local language of each country. See Section 5 for more on funding models derived from research into accessible telecenters. �

124Botelho, Fernando. Open Source Software-Based Assistive Technologies in ITU/G3ict e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities. http://e-accessibilitytoolkit.org 4.3.3 Supporting a sustainable and viable AT eco-system

In order for persons with disabilities to access appropriate assistive technology (AT), there must be a vibrant and sustainable AT ecosystem. Key components of such an AT eco-system include: * An AT industry that provides affordable and usable AT equipment to users; * An AT assessment, delivery and support system that is part of existing community-based rehabilitation services -- and that links in with the local school system to provide support to teachers and students; * A research community to explore the effectiveness of current AT delivery systems, the development of new and improved ATs, and the potential of new technological developments;and * Government funding and support for AT.

Developing countries have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of developed countries which, in-spite of relatively high levels of resources, still struggle in many cases to meet the AT needs of persons with disabilities. Research in Europe has shown that many AT companies develop as the result of a small, local demand.125 For example, the first line of Siemens Hearing Instruments was initially meant for employees of that company and their family members. Thus, small AT companies develop based on solving a need locally, and often do not have a business plan for rapid scalability.

A further issue is market fragmentation. Research supported by the European Commission has found that “the degree of fragmentation for AT ICT in general is high, driven largely by the unique, national-level or regional-level service delivery systems that minimize the ability for companies to realize significant economies of scale.” The fragmentation caused by different national systems and policies makes an already limited market for accessibility products even smaller. A further issue is that the type of solution required may vary from country to country – according to different languages, for example. The result of this fragmentation in the AT industry in Europe is that: * End-users have reduced choices of solutions;

* Companies have a reduced market size, which impacts sales and profits; and * The solutions may suffer from poor design, reliability and robustness, due to a lack of ongoing research and development. Market fragmentation is not only an issue for the viability and future development of a robust and profitable AT industry, it impacts on the choice, quality and affordability of solutions available to end-users within a region. One solution being proffered in the European context is the development of an organization to represent and support the AT ICT industry through networking between stakeholders, including end-users and service providers such as educational authorities. These partners would exchange knowledge on marketing and technical information. Policy-makers in developing countries may wish to encourage such networks to foster development of an in-country AT industry. The network could be developed at a national level or as part of an international network between countries. Examples of industry associations for AT include:

* AAATE, Association of the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe * ARATA, Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association * RESJ RESNA, Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America * Rehabilitation Engineering Society of Japan

125Pastor, C. et al (2009) Analysing and federating the European assistive technology ICT industry. Available at http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=4897 4.4 Procurement policies

Public procurement has long been used by many governments to achieve social inclusion goals.126 National public procurement policy has the potential to positively influence the availability, affordability and quality of AT and other accessible ICTs such as Braille, DAISY books and accessible websites. Public procurement provides educational and school authorities with a means to incorporate accessibility requirements at the earliest stages of developing a school IT infrastructure. This also has an impact on the wider accessible ICT eco-system by creating a demand, and therefore a capacity within the market, to develop, produce and maintain accessible ICTs. The greater the demand, the lower the end cost is likely to be. Public procurement policy can, therefore, act as a means to promote the development and availability of accessible ICTs. Educational authorities could, for example, include accessibility as a criterion in the purchase of all educational software, such as teaching programs or content management systems. This would help ensure that all users, including persons with disabilities, would be able to use and access content from the start, avoiding costly provision of specialized learning resources for these students at a later date. Accessible ICT procurement toolkits have been developed in a number of countries to systematically promote the procurement of accessible ICTs. A procurement toolkit typically provides guidance in the development and assessment of tenders issued by public bodies for ICTs such as websites or computers. Policy-makers could consider the development of a public procurement toolkit to complement a national policy on the provision of accessible ICTs in connected schools. In this way, any expenditure on ICTs for schools will ensure that the stock of school ICT hardware and software will become more accessible over time. While this will promote the accessibility of the mainstream ICT equipment used in schools, it will also be necessary to make a separate investment in specialized solutions and assistive technology for children with disabilities. For more on the role of public procurement in fostering accessible ICTs see the ITU/G3ict e-Accessibility Toolkit. �

126Waddell, Cynthia. Meeting information and communications technology access and service needs for people with disabilities: Major issues for development and implementation of successful policies and strategies. Available at http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/sis/PwDs/Seminars/Zambia/Documents/Presentations/009-Waddell%20Cynthia-Background%20paper.pdf Where governments insist on procuring only accessible ICTs, manufacturers respond by producing only accessible ICTs. It is simply too expensive for manufacturers to produce two lines, one for the government and another for the public. Public procurement requirements in countries that are major producers of ICTs has resulted in more accessible features being included in mainstream ICTs. 4.4.1 Compatibility with school IT infrastructure

It is also necessary for AT to be compatible with -- and to be supported by -- schools’ ICT infrastructure. The list of questions in Table 4.1 will assist in reviewing the current or planned ICT infrastructure in the school to support ATs. Table 4.1 Platform/infrastructure considerations in support of AT Aspect| Issue|

Hardware – Platform| How will the platform support a range of third party input and output devices?| �| What connectivity to third party input/output devices will be available?| �| Is the hardware compatible with widely used access software solutions?| �| Will drivers for input/output devices be available on this platform?| �| What support can be provided for input/output based on legacy connections?| Hardware – Laptops| What range of screen size will be available?| �| How much do any specified portable devices�weigh?| �| Are ruggedized devices available?|

| How do the devices open and start up – Ease of use?| �| What is the battery life : In hibernate ? In continuous use?| �| Can the selected device accommodate peripherals such as scanners, CCTV/magnifiers, joysticks?| Managed Services| How will local specialist technician knowledge integrate with provider services?| �| What provision of instant replacement services is applicable to users with individual needs?| �| Can the systems be accessed by users of non-standard technologies?| �| Will users have access to the control panel features?| �| Can user profiles for accessibility features be accessed at login anytime anywhere?| �| What are the timescales and related dependencies for approval and installation of access technologies?| Operating System| What accessibility options are available in the operating system?| �| What third party access software is available?|

| How will non-keyboard or non-literate users log on to the system?| Applications| What range of applications and software will run on the system, and will those options work with assistive technologies?| Intranet/Software as a Service (SaaS)| Will the applications comply with accessibility standards?| �| How will any bundled content created be managed�- How will the accessibility of content be assured?| �| Can it be accessed by users of non-standard technologies?| Assistive Technology| Can AT solutions be managed across the network?| �| Is network licensing of assistive technologies appropriate?| �| How will ATs be maintained in line with operating system (OS) and application upgrades?| �| How will people with special needs access any online applications/workstations/laptops/mobile devices?| �| How will ATs be funded annually for new users and as users’ needs change?| �| Are drivers for assistive technologies preloaded onto the system?| Building Design and Furniture| Are suitable power sockets and network access points available to support pupils throughout the building and immediate environment?| �| Is furniture accessible and suitably adjustable for individual needs?| �| Is technology sited for ease of access?|

| Does lighting reflect on the screen or create undue glare?Can it be locally adjusted (e.g. turned off.)?| �| Is there sufficient space allowed in the classroom for equipment to be maneuvered and to promote access for people with limited mobility?| Source: ITU/G3ict e-Accessibility Toolkit


4.5 Trends in Technology development influencing the use of ICT in education This section provides a brief overview of some main trends and developments in the area of assistive technology (AT) and the use of ICTs in education. It aims to inform policy-makers on which technology trends and developments should be considered in terms of research and development and international cooperation. While some of these may not currently be viable solutions for the use of accessible ICTs in schools in developing countries, they point to trends and developments that may ultimately address issues of affordability and availability of both AT and accessible educational resources. 4.5.1 Cloud computing and AT

Cloud computing is a current technological paradigm shift in which computing resources such as software are distributed over the Internet and made available to computers and other devices on-demand.127 The implication here is that AT software applications would not be installed on a particular machine, but rather would be accessed through the Internet from any computer. Preliminary approaches, such as online screen-readers, have “yielded promising results towards an inclusive Web by removing both economical and accessibility barriers.”128 More ambitious approaches, such as the Raising the Floor (RtF)129 and the LUCY project,130 aim to develop the tools and infrastructure necessary for persons with disabilities to have access to affordable ATs from any computer. Of particular relevance here is the RtF focus on the provision of ATs that are affordable. The RtF project recognizes that the “cost of commercial assistive technologies that are good enough to handle today's modern Web pages and applications far exceed the cost that those in lower socioeconomic situations can afford.”131 Unlike mainstream technologies, ATs such as screen readers have not tended to decrease in price over time. Instead, AT developers struggle to keep pace with developments in the interfaces and functionality of mainstream technologies. Open, collaborative projects such as RtF invite governments and research communities in universities and industry to contribute to their areas of activity. 127http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

128http://www.w4a.info/
129http://raisingthefloor.net/projects
130http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/sis/PwDs/Seminars/Uganda/LUCY%20Presentation%20-%20UGANDA.ppsx 131http://raisingthefloor.net/about

4.5.2 Mobile learning
Lack of access to a computer in developing countries restricts many people’s access to the Internet. Mobile phone ownership is far greater in developing countries than PC ownership. For example, according to a report from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, approximately 5 million new mobile subscribers joined the ever-growing population of mobile phone users every month in 2006.132 Content delivered via mobile phone is being used for a variety of applications, including education. Mobile learning, or “m-learning,” is an array of e-learning over mobile devices such as mobile phones, whic is of potential benefit to users in developing countries, especially those living in remote rural locations. The challenges of providing content on a mobile phone include "how to efficiently render visual Internet content into short, precise, easily navigable, meaningful and pleasant to listen to audio content."133 Still, the penetration of mobile phones in developing countries does present a potential opportunity for reaching more people than the current provision of content to desktop computers. Any country developing policy or initiatives to promote the provision of services over mobile phone networks should consider the implications for persons with disabilities, for example, using accessible books stored on mobile phones. See proceedings from the ITU/UNESCAP/G3ict Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on Mainstreaming ICT Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (Bangkok, 2009) on access to the internet for persons with disabilities via mobile phone and the use of mobile phones for children with disabilities. �

132Nokia India. Position Paper – Mobile Internet UX for Developing Countries http://research.nokia.com/files/Joshi-MIUXforDevelopingCountries.pdf 133http://www.internetspeech.com/rendering_whitepaper.htm


4.5.3 Connectivity
Connecting all primary, secondary and post-secondary schools to ICTs by 2015 was one of the targets set by world leaders at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The lack of fixed-line telecommunication infrastructure has been an obstacle to accessing the Internet in many under-served and remote parts of the developing world. The increasing levels of connectivity to the Internet through wireless broadband -- a growing trend in developing countries -- promises to improve Internet connectivity in developing countries, including in schools. For students with disabilities, the possibility of accessing educational content online will significantly improve their ability to participate in mainstream education. 4.5.4 Learning platforms

Learning platform is a generic term used to describe a broad range of ICT systems that are used to deliver and support learning. These include Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), which combine several functions such as delivering course work over the Web or an intranet to students or allowing students and teachers to interact. VLEs are regularly used for ‘blended learning’ that supplements traditional, face-to-face classroom activities. VLEs are most often used in higher (second or third level) education. Some VLEs are capable of producing content that conforms with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines from the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).134 One such open-source VLE is Moodle.135 134 W3C WAI, 2008. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0. Available at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/ 135http://moodle.org/


4.5.5 Open Educational Resources
Open Educational Resources (OERs) are learning materials that are freely available for use, repurposing and redistribution. The term was first adopted at UNESCO's 2002 Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries.136 While many OERs are available over the Web, many are not accessible to persons with disabilities. Policy considerations in this area could include international cooperation with other countries, establishing projects to develop OERs that are accessible to persons with disabilities, or developing strategies to systematically provide existing OERs in accessible formats. An example of one such project is the “FLOE” or Flexible Learning for Open Education project, which received funding approval from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in 2010.137 The FLOE project will work with current OER projects and the accessibility community to develop a system that will better match OERs with the needs of learners. Current OER projects will be supported to produce more accessible OERs. Where learners’ needs are not being met, the FLOE project will work with the community of alternate format providers to develop accessible versions of OERs. Led by the Inclusive Design Research Centre138 at the Ontario College of Art And Design, the project will include a range of developing country partners such as: 1. OER Africa,139

2. Strathmore University, Kenya,
3. University of Capetown, South Africa. and
4. Research Institute for Technology and Innovation (IPTI), Brazil. To support adoption in Africa and other areas where mobile devices are more prevalent than Internet access, FLOE will create the tools and services needed to deliver OER via audio-only, text messages and small screens found on popular cell phones. For further information on the potential of OERs as a tool for inclusive education, see the article “Access to Education with Online Learning and Open Education Resources: Can they Close the Gap?”140 For a discussion on making online educational resources accessible, see the article “Accessible Distance Education 101.”141 �

136http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_educational_resources
137http://www.hewlett.org/
138http://idrc.ocad.ca/
139http://www.oerafrica.org/
140Geith, Christine. Access to Education with Online Learning and Open Education Resources: Can they Close the Gap http://www.distanceetdroitaleducation.org/contents/FJALN_v12n1_Geith.pdf 141Robert, Jodi. Accessible Distance Education 101. http://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/09141.pdf �

4.5.6 Web accessibility
For some time now, a key policy consideration for public agencies in developed countries has been the accessibility of private and public websites.142 In accordance with the principles of Universal Design, incorporating the needs of persons with disabilities into the design and development of a website at the earliest stages is likely to incur little or no additional cost. Websites that are currently inaccessible are typically more difficult and expensive to retrofit. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)143 has produced internationally recognized guidelines and resources for the development of accessible websites. Many countries now use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 1 or 2, as the standard to which all public administration websites must conform. Policy-makers should consider imposing targets on publicly funded institutions, such as schools and universities --,and even private companies -- for the development of new websites and the retrofitting of old website to conform to these standards. A report on “Web Accessibility Policy Making: An International Perspective” showing a range of policy approaches to Web accessibility is available from the G3ict website. 142http://www.e-accessibilitytoolkit.org/toolkit/developing_policy/Step_4:_Policy_examples_from_around_the_world 143http://www.w3.org/WAI/


5 Leveraging Accessible ICT-enabled schools as community hubs for training for Adults with Disabilities “At the [accessible ICT center] we learn that because you have a disability you don’t have to be on the side, in a corner like a piece of furniture. On the contrary, you struggle for your life, these classes are an incentive to get ahead, to believe in yourself, to feel capable, that you can do the things that you want, the goals that you make.” Ecuadorian person with a motor impairment, participant in a POETA supported ICT centre144

This section explores the potential of leveraging connected schools, equipped with Assistive Technology, as training centers for persons with disabilities within the community. It is based on the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITUs) experiences in supporting Multipurpose Telecommunication Centers (MTCs), coupled with learning from international studies on the use of accessible telecenters and Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) centers in providing technical skills and job-preparedness training to persons with disabilities. While equipping connected schools with assistive technology (AT) is a worthy goal in and of itself, the benefits can be multiplied by taking advantage of already installed ATs and computer equipment, as well as the administrative and management structures of the school to provide services to the broader community. Two potential uses can be considered. The first encompasses the well- established notion of providing Internet access and ICTs through community-based telecenters. The second considers the possibility of literacy, numeracy, basic ICT skills and vocational job skills training. �

144Technology and Social Change (TASCHA) group, University of Washington. Technology for employability in Latin America: Research with at-risk youth & people with disabilities http://cis.washington.edu/files/2009/11/tascha_ict-employability-latin-america_200910.pdf 5.1 Multipurpose Community Telecenters

Multipurpose Community Telecenters (MCTs) are promoted and supported by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a means to facilitate universal access to telecommunication services -- particularly access to the internet via ICTs.145 This, in turn, enables people to become active participants in the emerging Information Society. MCTs are a shared facility for access to ICTs, along with user support and training. MCTs can reduce access costs larger numbers of people than the provision of individual solutions, such as laptops. MCTs also promote awareness of the potential benefits of the Information Society and “connectedness.”146 See the UNESCO reference document “Accessibility Guidelines for Community Multimedia Centres for People with Disabilities” that contains detailed guidelines, checklists and case studies on how MCT can be made accessible. �

145ITU http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/univ_access/telecentres/
Multipurpose community telecentres: Lessons Learnt http://www.itu.int/net/itunews/issues/2010/05/30.aspx 146Johan Ernberg ITU/BDT Universal Access - by means of Multipurpose Community Telecentres. Available at http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/univ_access/telecentres/papers/mctbrief.pdf

5.1.1 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centers for persons with disabilities in developing countries Skill training enhances productivity and sustains competitiveness in the global economy.147 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is not just a means of preparing young people for the world of work, it is also a “means of reaching out to the marginalized and excluded groups to engage them in income-generating livelihoods.”148 The first of the Millennium Development Goals is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, with a target of halving, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than 1 USD a day and who suffer from hunger. Ensuring that workers have the skills to earn a livelihood through equitable access to appropriate learning is one of the six Education for All (EfA) goals established at the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000. TVET for poverty alleviation has become a priority for many governments in developing countries. The success and future expansion of TVET programmes in developing countries depends on the continued expansion of existing training programmes and continued cooperation among national and international bodies. Many developing countries have concentrated on “universal primary education and literacy, but do not pay sufficient attention to skill training for youths and adults.”149 However, in countries such as Nigeria, there are “numerous initiatives focusing on providing education and training people from marginalized groups.” These are often small in scale and are not recognized as part of a comprehensive national educational strategy. The best practices referred to in this section recommend that TVET for persons with disabilities should: * Provide qualifications that are part of the educational qualifications framework of the country; * Provide certification that is valued by employers;

* Act as a bridge to return to further, more formal education, should the person wish to; and * Take into account the low levels of literacy, numeracy and ICT skills among persons with disabilities, and recognize that previous educational experiences may have been negative. One of the primary aims of the UN CRPD is for persons with disabilities to become active members of the workforce at all levels of industry, commerce, administration, governance and education. Accessible ICTs hold the potential to enable persons with disabilities to receive job skills that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. For example, assistive technologies can enable access to mainstream office applications commonly used for business management and administration. Traditionally, persons with a disability such as blindness were often given specific and somewhat limiting roles within an organization, such as answering telephones as a receptionist. However, when sufficient and appropriate training is provided, persons with disabilities can reach their own personal potential once they have support and the required accommodations. The case studies show a variety of job opportunities that persons with disabilities in developing countries are enjoying as a result of vocational training in the use of accessible ICTs. One growth area in jobs for person with disabilities in developing countries is employment at telecenters.150 The Microsoft website also illustrates a variety of ICT-specific careers made possible through the use of accessible ICTs. �

147Bharat, The Role Open and Distance Learning in Vocational Education and Training in India 148Alhaji, Ibrahim Hamra. Revitalizing Technical and Vocational Education Training for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable through Agricultural Education. Available at http://www.afrrevjo.com/print/sites/default/files/Volume_2_Number_1_art_9.pdf Published in African Research Review - AFRREV, January 2008, Volume 2, No. 1 149UNESCO. Meeting EFA goals : Integrating Skills Development in EFA http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=34507&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html 150http://www.telecentre.org/group/telecentrefordisabilities 5.2 Best practices and challenges in developing and sustaining accessible MCTs and Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) centers Key considerations and good-practice guidance in this section are based on findings and recommendations of the 2009 study by the Technology and Social Change (TASCHA) group at the University of Washington. “Technology for employability in Latin America: Research with at-risk youth & people with disabilities” looked at recent investments in technology centers to provide basic computer training for persons with disabilities in five countries: Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela.151 151Technology and Social Change Group, University of Washington. 2009 Technology for employability in Latin America: Research with at-risk youth & people with disabilities. Available at http://change.washington.edu/2010/01/technology-for-employability-in-latin-america-research-with-at-risk-youth-people-with-disabilities/ 5.2.1 Funding models for using accessible, connected schools as MCTs and TVET centers In the TASCHA study, a mix of funding models were observed in different countries, although all projects examined were part of the POETA programme of international aid (see POETA case study for more details). In line with the POETA policy of collaborating with local partners, funding was also received from municipal and national governments. In the context of the five countries examined in the study,152 there was no trend observed that participants were unwilling or unable to pay a ”nominal amount” for access to ICT and job skills training. The biggest barrier for functional access to technology was found to be the prohibitively high cost of AT software. For example, in the case study from Mexico city, AT such as a JAWS screen reader and MAGic were only provided in demo versions, requiring the user to reboot the machine every 40 minutes. While a number of projects are under way to develop ATs such as screen readers in underserved languages, these are currently insufficient to meet the worldwide need for the localization of these technologies. (See ITU and UN ESCAP Bangkok conference proceedings on “Mainstreaming ICT Accessibility for persons with Disabilities”). The TASCHA study concludes that the development of affordable ATs – screen readers- in local languages should be “a defining agenda for research and practice in technology in the developing world”153. Some aid organizations and technology companies worldwide offer subsidized versions of proprietary software (see case study from Kenya). The TASCHA studies conclude that such a model is unsustainable and that efforts should focus on building the capacity nationally and internationally to produce affordable and localized AT.154 �

152Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela
153TASCHA page 80
154TASCHA page 80

5.2.2 Sustainable funding models and trends in the philanthropic approach Funding for accessible MCTs should go beyond “parachuting in” technology and look at a sustainable business model for the center. The TASCHA report found that after the initial capital injection to buy AT and pay for training was finished, many telecenters found it difficult to become self-sufficient. While corporate social responsibility can potentially be utilized to secure an initial capital investment from a company or foundation, the TASCHA report warns that this funding model on its own is at odds with the “kind of investment need for meaningful support of human development initiatives such as [the development of accessible MCTs],”155 POETA points to trends in the philanthropic approach to providing aid to developing countries. Donating organizations have become more focused on the results of the investment. They play the role of a broker by providing a mix of funds, knowledge and expertise and requiring that projects are replicable, sustainable and have appreciable results.156 In the context of accessible MCTs based in schools, consideration should be given to the sustainability of the business model. While much of the infrastructure, such as the school building and computer room, can be made available at no cost to the community, careful planning is required for funding ongoing ancillary services such as hiring trainers and providing job skills training. 155TASCHA page 85.

156POETA - presentation on file

5.2.3 Certification and ongoing education
Providing certification for course completion attracts participants and is a qualification desired by employers. The types of certification identified in the TASCHA study varied from project to project and were either provided by the telecenters, the local or national educational ministry, or by private companies such as CISCO and Microsoft. Accessible MCTs based in schools are ideally placed to support cross-over programs for participants to complete formal education. The TASCHA study points out that TVET, and in particular ICT initiatives, serve as a ‘substitute’ for formal education. The following quotation for one respondent captures this potential which should be considered in context of policy development in support of accessible ICT schools: “I didn’t hope to go to college before I took this course. I only started intending to head to college in this area due to this course. I liked computers, and it seemed like this course ‘fell from the sky’ for me, and I got the idea of going to college to study informatics after going to this course…it changed my thinking, informatics changed it a lot.” –17 year old Brazilian youth157

157TASCHA page 56
5.3 Technology considerations
The TASCHA report found that one of the biggest barriers to functional accessibility among respondents was the lack of low-cost AT in the local language (Spanish). The report recommended that: * The development of AT in local languages be promoted and supported by funding organizations of accessible MCT projects; * Center staff be encouraged to develop low-cost solutions, particularly for adaptive equipment such as input devices, or workstation adaptations to help overcome common accessibility barriers; * Large technology companies be encouraged to develop their products according to the principles of Universal Design, making mainstream products both accessible and usable to widest range of users. The TASCHA study identified a disconnect between the AT available in the telecenters and those made available by employers to enable a person with a disability to carry out their job. 5.3.1 AT for employment and job placement services for employers and participants While some financial support was available from regional and national authorities to subsidize the ATs in the telecenters, no such subsidies were available in some countries to procure the same software and hardware once a person had secured a job placement. Accessible MCTs in schools providing training for persons with disabilities should foster strong relationships with local employers. In the case study on the Tunisian telecenter, the telecenter invited prospective employers to give presentations and evaluate student projects. As well as awareness-raising activities for employers, the accessible MCTs in schools could potentially provide some level of support in placing graduates in jobs. It could also support employers by identifying workplace accommodations and helping find appropriate AT. Job placement support enables prospective employers to overcome negative perceptions about employing a person with a disability, as well as providing advice and practical support on making workplace adjustments. Workplace adjustments can include the sourcing and installation of ATs required to enable the person to work. It is key to facilitating the transition of the person from education and training to employment. In Italy, for example, at the Politecnico di Milano, graduates with disabilities have reached a 100 per cent success rate in finding jobs, in part due to the outreach and ongoing support provided by the university to graduates and employers in making these workplace adjustments.158 The TASCHA report suggests that accessible ICT centers can “build a reputation for providing successful candidates by maintaining ongoing relationships [with employers]”159. A key policy consideration, therefore, is the provision of subsidies and grants to either employees or employers to make workplace accommodations, in line with the UN Convention’s obligations under “reasonable accommodation.” There was a high demand from participants interviewed in the TASCHA study for additional and complementary employment services to be provided along with the ICT technical skills. These skills include resume-building, interview skills and other job-preparedness skills. In particular, respondents in the TASCHA study spoke of the increase in self-esteem and their personal perceptions of their own employability resulting from these ‘softer skills’ being part of the course. Some of the telecenters in the TASCHA study also offered additional services such as physical rehabilitation and occupational therapy. In the context of schools providing access to accessible ICTs, close links with other established rehabilitative services in the community can be vital to developing and supporting the local ecosystem of disability services. �

158Sbatella, Licia. 2010. Higher education ICT programs for promoting employability of students with disability. 159TASCHA page 86

6 Checklist for policy-makers
The following is a review and checklist of the concepts and recommendations put forward in this module: 1. Policies for the implementation of accessible ICTs in connected schools should be developed together with disabled persons’ organizations and within the framework of international law and policy that includes the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the World Summit on the Information Society principles, actions and targets. 2. Policy development and implementation of accessible ICTs in connected schools should be used to further the inclusive educational policies of a country -- that is, education provided within the context of the mainstream educational system and not in a segregated setting. 3. Because inclusive education is a model that must be progressively realized, policy-makers should consider the development of national-level statements on the principles, intentions, means, objectives and timeframes for implementing accessible ICTs in connected schools.Policy development on the use of accessible ICTs in inclusive schools will cut across several areas of governmental responsibility including: * Education

* Telecommunications/ICTs
* E-government
* Finance and public procurement
* Customs/import duties and taxation
* Welfare and employment
* Equality
4. Four key stages i�n the implementation of accessible ICTs in inclusive education are: * Design and development of accessible ICTs,
* Their implementation and delivery,
* Improvement, and
* Assessment of their benefits.
5. Six key areas for policy development include:
* Infrastructure,
* Support for practice,
* Needs assessment for persons with disabilities,
* Training for students and teachers,
* Co-operation and research on best practices, and
* Evaluation on the benefits and uses of ATs.
6. Research activities to support evidence based policy development should focus on establishing: * Societal attitudes towards persons with disabilities and their inclusion as equal participants in the educational system; * Attitudes of children with disabilities and their teachers, parents and car-givers on the use and benefits of assistive technology; * National demographics on persons with disabilities, including the numbers of people likely to benefit from accessible ICTs in schools/Multipurpose Community Telecenters; * Current ICT infrastructure within the school, including the number of computers already in schools and the number of schools connected to the internet; * Current usage of ICTs in schools – how and for what; * Types and numbers of accessible ICTs required;

* In-country availability of required accessible ICTs;
* Likely costs and strategies for development of alternate solutions, including open-source solutions; * Preparedness of teachers to incorporate accessible ICTs into their teaching practices; * Attitudes and knowledge of students, parents and teachers towards accessible ICTs; and * Availability of support networks.

7. Policy implementation will require the cooperation of a wide range of stakeholders, including persons with disabilities, educational authorities and international aid organizations. 8. All consultation meetings on policy development held with persons with disabilities should be done in an accessible manner. 9. The policy development framework for the provision of accessible ICTs in connected schools should include a mechanism for evaluation and monitoring of outcomes. This should include metrics on * Levels of access by persons with disabilities to education and experiences of teachers and students in using accessible ICTs in the classroom, * Levels of AT abandonment, if any, and reasons for abandonment ,and * Costs of AT and learning resources in accessible formats. 10. Funding options for investment in an AT infrastructure for connected schools include government funding and subsidies, public-private partnerships, partnerships with international aid organizations and corporate social responsibility programmes from technology companies. A key policy consideration for government and school investment in accessible technology is the choice between open-source and proprietary models of software licensing. Policy-makers should consider the implications of the choice of investment in terms of the likely short, medium and long-term impacts on the availability and affordability of ATs. 11. Government investment policy in ATs for connected schools should look beyond just the provision of technology and aim to develop and support a sustainable AT infrastructure that provides for needs assessment, supply, maintenance, training and support in the use of ATs for both students and their teachers. 12. The development of a national online database on ATs will help provide teachers, students and their families with accurate information on ATs and their availably in-country. 13. Support by government of the AT industry in-country is essential for a sustainable and viable AT industry. 14. Support of research and development into AT is essential to enable further development and localization of AT. Ensuring that AT software such as screen readers are available in local languages is of critical importance. Research and development can be supported by a mix of stakeholders including universities with suitable technical competencies and resources, industry and technical centers within disabled persons organizations (DPOs). 15. A range of current and near-future technology developments should be monitored by government and schools such as cloud computing, m-learning and the development of accessible Open Educational Resources. 16. Targets and timeframes for the development of publicly funded and private websites to be accessible according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines from the W3C should be implemented. 17. Consideration should be given to leveraging connected schools with accessible ICTs as accessible Multipurpose Community Telecentres (MCTs) for use by the wider community. 18. In the context of accessible MCTs based in schools, which provide employment and ICT skills training to persons with disabilities, consideration should be given to the sustainability of the centre’s business model. While much of the infrastructure can be made available at no cost to the community, careful planning is required to ensure adequate funding for trainers and course materials. 6.1 Conclusion

Persons with disabilities remain one of the most excluded groups in society. Equitable access to education is a vital part of enabling people to reach their full potential, and this has been emphasized as a human right for persons with disabilities in the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities. This module has shown that accessible ICTs hold the potential to facilitate access to education for all persons with disabilities and enable them to become productive, visible and integrated members of society. 7 International texts, initiatives and goals on using ICTs to enable education and job training for Persons with Disabilities “Thus in my own country and in many other friendly countries we persons with disabilities have been left in an exceptionally negative place, segregated from society and considered invisible by the rest of the community. It was traditionally assumed that so-called “special” persons were unable to learn, so that it was thought unnecessary to spend time and give attention for that purpose; all that was needed was to provide assistance in the form of health care, food and shelter, in other words a form of assistance based on public charity.” Mr Lenín Moreno Garcés, Vice-President of the Republic of Ecuador. Keynote speech at 48th International Conference on Education160 16048th ICE page 49

7.1 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
The World Summit on the Information Society, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), established a common vision for an information society for all and provided a framework to translate that vision into action.161 Phase 1, held in Geneva in 2003, developed a clear statement of the political will, vision and framework through its Declaration of Principles. The implementation of concrete activities was established in the Plan of Action.162 Phase 2, held in Tunisia in 2005, put this Plan of Action into motion and established an Agenda for the Information Society in the Tunis Commitment.163 161World Summit on the Information Society http://www.itu.int/wsis/index.html UN/ITU WSIS, Geneva Declaration of Principles, available at http://www.itu.int/wsis/documents/doc_multi.asp?lang=en&id=1161|0 UN/ITU WSIS, Geneva Plan of Action, available at

http://www.itu.int/wsis/documents/doc_multi.asp?lang=en&id=1160|0 162UN/ITU WSIS, Tunis Commitment, available at http://www.itu.int/wsis/documents/doc_multi.asp?lang=en&id=2266|0 163UN/ITU WSIS, Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, available at http://www.itu.int/wsis/documents/doc_multi.asp?lang=en&id=2267|0 �

7.1.1 WSIS Key Principles
The WSIS Key Principles and Plan of Action contain many commitments on the development of an Information Society that enables the education, training and employment of persons with disabilities. It recognizes the special needs of persons with disabilities and, under the Key Principles, highlights the importance of universal design and the use of assistive technologies in enabling access to the Information Society. It emphasizes that an inclusive information and communication infrastructure is an essential foundation to the Information Society and that national ”e-strategies” need to take into consideration the “special requirements of people with disabilities.” The Key Principles and Plan of Action contain numerous obligations on the special needs of persons with disabilities which include: * Accessible ICTs are to be used in all stages of education, training and human resource development (Declaration of Principles: 30). * The production of ICT equipment and services are to be developed in accordance with Universal Design Principles and usable with assistive technology (Plan of Action C2 (f)). * There should be an inclusive framework for ensuring universal access to information and knowledge for all (Plan of Action C3). * Capacity building, addressing the need to ensure the benefits offered by ICTs for all, including disadvantaged, marginalized and vulnerable groups (Plan of Action C4) * The production of content (multi-media, websites etc) that is accessible by people with disabilities and is provided in their own language (Plan of Action C8 23) * The recognition of the unique potential of teleworking and telecenters to enable the equitable employment of people with disabilities and to enable them to work independently within their communities (Plan of Action C7 19 (c)) * The need for software to be accessible and affordable by all, in particular marginalized groups such as people with disabilities * The need for collaborative efforts on the development of affordable software and to foster collaborative development, inter-operative platforms and free and open-source software for education and digital inclusion programmes (Tunis Commitment 29) The International Telecommunication Union’s 2010 mid-term report on “Monitoring the WSIS targets” states that “In view of the challenges faced in meeting the WSIS, MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] and EFA [Education for ALL] targets, it seems unrealistic to assume that conventional delivery mechanisms will be capable of ensuring the affordable and sustainable provision of quality and equal education opportunities for all by 2015. Indeed, the biggest challenge for many education systems is to be able to offer training or learning opportunities to traditionally underserved or marginalized groups. ” Accessible ICTs are increasingly viewed as a key means to deliver on the international development strategies and treaties referenced in this module. UNESCO’s focus is on the human dimension of the information society beyond connectivity and infrastructures. Education, knowledge, information and communication are placed at the core of human well-being as nations move toward becoming inclusive Knowledge Societies. In 2003, UNESCO made available a series of publications summarizing some of the most essential issues related to the development of the information society, including ICTs and persons with disabilities.164 These publications are intended to measure the upheavals brought about by the emergence of ICT. They also deal with the potential for development, the difficulties encountered, possible solutions, and the various projects implemented by UNESCO and its partners. UNESCO’s World Report:Towards Knowledge Societies165 published as a contribution to the WSIS process in 2005, stressed the existence of multi-faceted digital divides in societies: “There is not one but rather many digital divides. They are not exclusive and tend to combine according to local realities. There are numerous factors that contribute to the digital divide … economic resources, geography, age, gender, language, education, employment and disability”. 164UNESCO, Status of Research on the Information Society, UNESCO Publications for the World Summit on the Information Society, 2003. p. 59-68. http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/files/12515/10621625063status-1-84.pdf/status-1-84.pdf 165UNESCO World Report: Towards Knowledge Societies. UNESCO Publishing, 2005. p. 30. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001418/141843e.pdf �

7.2 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) initiatives
The International Telecommunication Union is the lead United Nations agency for information and communication issues, and it is the global focal point for governments and the private sector in developing networks and services. ITU works to improve the telecommunications infrastructure of the developing world and, therefore, has a specific strategy on accessibility. This strategy focuses on: * Making technical design standards accessible,

* Supporting the rights of persons with disabilities, and * Providing education and training on accessible ICTs.

7.2.1 ITU-G3ict e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities The ITU-G3ict166 “e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities”167 is an online toolkit designed to assist policy-makers to implement the ICT accessibility dispositions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The toolkit is a global collaborative effort with more than 60 contributors from around the world. It provides a range of introductory information on the ICT accessibility dispositions in the UN Convention, as well as policy advice structured by government policy area. e-Accessibility Toolkit in brief

The Toolkit is composed of the following main categories of information: * An overview of the Convention and its dispositions covering ICTs, * Demographics and statistical analysis of the worldwide numbers of people who benefit from accessible ICTs, * Background on ICT accessibility issues,

* A resource guide for policy-making by core ICT areas such as, assistive technology, websites, software and access to published works, * Universal design strategies for ICT products and serviced, * Public procurement policies,

* Use of assistive technologies for persons with disabilities, * Regional and international cooperation,
* The role of local governments, and
* Guidance on developing public policy in support of the Convention’s ICT accessibility dispositions. The Toolkit also contains two further resources designed to help countries to prioritize policy development: * Guides by policy area: A set of actions for governments to undertake under each administrative function such as telecommunication/broadcasting, education, and labour/social affairs; and * A Self-Assessment Framework: Guidance on how countries can begin to collect data and identify gaps in relevant policy areas, with a view to prioritizing actions to meet the relevant ICT obligations under the Convention. In addition, the Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) is implementing a variety of projects in developing countries, including establishing community ICT centers equipped with assistive technologies so that persons with disabilities can partake in ICT literacy training. There also are ICT-enabled job training and projects targeted at the development of text-to-speech in local languages. Accessibility issues are also explored in Study Group 1 of the ITU-D, in Question 20-1/1, "Access to telecommunication/ICT services by persons with disabilities and with special needs.” Details on the work of ITU-D on accessibility can be found at http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/sis/PwDs/index.html. The Telecommunication Standardization Sector of ITU (ITU-T) has been promoting accessibility since 2000, through the concept of “Total Communication” and the principle of “Design for all,” with its Recommendation ITU-T F.703. These two initiatives began to promote the concept of Universal Design, enshrined in the UN CRPD, eight years before its adoption by the UN. Since then, many other standards – which are called “Recommendations” in ITU parlance – have been written for accessibility and for mainstreaming accessibility within telecommunication/ICT systems. In addition, ITU-T developed the Telecommunications Accessibility Checklist, which enables standards writers – who are manufacturers, network providers, operating agencies, regulators, along with ITU Member States – to include accessibility and universal design principles during the early stages of the standards development process, instead of having to do often expensive retrofits into existing systems and services. Details on the work of ITU-T in accessibility can be found at http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/accessibility/index.html. �

166The United Nations Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) is a flagship partnership initiative of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development. 167http://www.e-accessibilitytoolkit.org


7.3 UNESCO Initiatives
UNESCO leads the global Education for All movement, aiming to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015. UNESCO promotes the ultimate goal of inclusive education, which it views as a means to ensuring a quality education for all and to achieving wider social inclusion goals. In its “Guidelines for inclusion: Ensuring Access to Education for All” UNESCO defines inclusive educations as “…a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion within and from education. It involves changes and modifications in content, approaches, structures and strategies, with a common vision which covers all children of the appropriate age range and a conviction that it is the responsibility of the regular system to educate all children”.168 UNESCO also promotes effective use of ICTs that are “accessible, adaptive and affordable.”169 It views the empowerment of persons with disabilities through effective use of ICTs as “…not a charity, but the fulfillment of fundamental human rights as stated in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, highlighting that “all human beings are born free and equal in rights and dignity.”170 UNESCO promotes empowering persons with disabilities through ICTs as a means of effective participation in inclusive education, culture, science and the enjoyment of human rights and social inclusion (Figure 7.1). (See the UNESCO document Empowering Persons with Disabilities through ICTs for more on UNESCO’s view on the interrelationship between accessible ICTs, inclusive education and human rights.)

Figure 7.1 Accessible ICTs enabling education, science, culture and communication

Source: UNESCO
UNESCO Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education 2009171
UNESCO’s Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education 2009 state that inclusive education “is a process of strengthening the capacity of the education system to reach out to all learners, and can be thus understood as a key strategy to achieve EFA”.172 The three main motivators for inclusive education are: * • Educational: Inclusive schools, in which all children are educated together, develop ways of teaching that respond to individual differences and so benefit all children. * • Social: Inclusive schools foster positive attitudes towards diversity and form the basis of a just and non-discriminatory society. * • Economic: It is more cost effective to establish schools that educate all children together than to set up complex systems of different types of schools specializing in different groups of children. One of the main areas of policy concern in the guidelines relates to the education and continuous professional development of teachers, many of whom are unfamiliar with the potential use of ICTs and may be unaware of how accessible ICTs can be used to assist students with disabilities in the classroom. 168UNESCO, Guidelines for inclusion: Ensuring Access to Education for All, Paris, UNESCO, 2005. 169UNESCO, “Empowering Persons with Disabilities through ICTs”, 2009, available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001847/184704e.pdf 170Ibid (footnote 169)

171UNESCO Policy guidelines on Inclusive Education
172UNESCO Guidelines for Inclusive Education, page 8
7.3.1 Salamanca Declaration and inclusive schools
In 1994, UNESCO organized an international conference to consider the “fundamental policy shifts required to promote the approach of inclusive education, namely enabling schools to serve all children, particularly those with special educational needs.” The Conference adopted the “Salamanca Statement on Principles, Policy and Practice in Special Needs Education and a Framework for Action,” known by shorthand as the Salamanca Declaration, which was endorsed by 92 countries.173 According to the Declaration, inclusive education requires that: “… Schools should accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions. This should include disabled and gifted children, street and working children, children from remote or nomadic populations, children from linguistic, ethnic or cultural minorities and children from other disadvantaged or marginalized areas or groups.”174 While many countries have well-established schools providing for the educational needs of children with specific impairments, the Declaration strongly recommends that , where countries have few or no special schools, efforts should be concentrated “on the development of inclusive schools and the specialized services needed to enable them to serve the vast majority of children and youth – especially provision of teacher training in special needs education and the establishment of suitably staffed and equipped resource centers to which schools could turn for support.” When thus established, inclusive schools are more cost effective than maintaining a two-tier system of education. 173http://www.unesco.de/fileadmin/medien/Dokumente/Bildung/Salamanca_Declaration.pdf 174The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education, para 3. �

7.3.2 UNESCO’s 48th International Conference on Education
The UNESCO International Conference on Education (ICE) is an international forum for policy dialogue, held by UNESCO’s 153 member states to progress UNESCO’s overall strategy for fostering quality education. At the 48th ICE, held in Geneva in November 2008, inclusive education was emphasized in the conclusion and recommendations as a key strategy in achieving UNESCO’s Education for All initiative.175 The proceedings state that inclusive education is an “ongoing process aimed at offering quality education for all while respecting diversity and the different needs and abilities, characteristics and learning expectations of the students, eliminating all forms of discrimination.”176 The use of ICT is emphasized as a means of ensuring “greater access to learning opportunities.”177 Analysis of National Reports on the Development of Education National reports on the development of education were submitted by 116 countries for the Conference.178 The reports show a mix of modest progress and interesting innovations being made by developing countries in the use of ICTs for inclusive education: * The Brazilian Ministry of Education views the provision of accessible ICTs as a means to “fight against poverty, social exclusion and culturalization.” To this end, the Ministry reports the installation of 1,251 multi-functional resource rooms equipped with “televisions, computers with printers, scanners and webcams, DVDs and software for accessibility, furniture and educational and pedagogical material specific to Braille, sign language, augmentative and alternative communication, among other resources of assistive technology for offering complimentary specialized educational services.” These rooms were installed between 2005 and 2007, with the aim of having 30,000 multifunctional resource rooms by end of 2011.179 * The Tanzanian Ministry of Education reported having “managed to improve the conditions of the buildings of some schools that practice inclusive education, as well as purchasing materials like Braille machines and computers for the blind and others.”180 * In Barbados, “the role that computer technology can play in promoting the education of children with special needs is important, not only in teaching new skills but in providing access to the curriculum through assistive devices. Particular computer applications and devices make it possible for students with disabilities to be educated in a regular classroom alongside their non-disabled peers.”181 * In Uzbekistan, “children with special needs, who don’t have physical opportunities to visit school, will be provided with a computer and computer multimedia training programs […] ” These computers will provide access to basic educational packages and resources. * In Thailand, “education coupons are provided to assist towards the technology and special services needed, with each student with a disability entitled to a coupon of minimum baht 2,000 (USD 55) per year.”182 While some reports are encouraging, and all national reports make reference to some provision for students with disabilities, very few prioritize the provision or use of accessible ICTs. A keyword search performed on all 116 national reports for a variety of terms associated with accessible ICTs revealed that the provision or use of accessible ICTs, and in particular learning materials in alternate formats, were present in only a small number of reports.183 In 2010, UNESCO organized the ninth meeting of the High-level Group on Education for All, which took place from 23-25 February 2010 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The resulting Addis Ababa Declaration184 emphasizes: “The six EFA goals and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will only be achieved if governments accelerate their efforts to guarantee education for marginalized populations. Opportunities in 2010, notably the MDG review process, must be utilized to revitalize efforts and support for EFA. Unless the global community takes determined and targeted action to reach the marginalized, there will be at least 56 million primary school age children still not enrolled in school in 2015.” In 2010, UNESCO published the “EFA Global Monitoring Report 2010: Teaching the marginalized.“ The report indicates that children with disabilities are among the most marginalized and least likely to go to school. "There are an estimated 150 million children in the world with disabilities, about four-fifths of them in developing countries. Millions more live with disabled parents and relatives. Beyond their immediate health-related effects, physical and mental impairments carry a stigma that often leads to exclusion from society and from school… Children with impairments that affect the capacity to communicate, and more severe impairments overall, typically have the most limited opportunities for education, especially in the poorest countries”. UNESCO is launching a new project on “Development of inclusive information policies for use of ICTs in Education for Persons with Disabilities” (ICT4ED4PWD). The initiative aims to collect good practices in using accessible, adaptive and affordable ICTs in education for persons with disabilities. It also will examine existing ICT policies focusing on issues related to inclusive education, including persons with disabilities. A comprehensive set of recommendations will be prepared to enhance inclusive information policies around the world. �

175http://www.ibe.unesco.org/en/ice/48th-ice-2008.html
176http://www.ibe.unesco.org/en/ice/48th-session-2008/final-report.html 177One of the themes debated was “The Role of ICTs in Curricular Innovation”. One of the concrete areas for action was on “Flexible teaching methods and innovative approaches to teaching aids, and equipment as well as the use of ICTs” 178http://www.ibe.unesco.org/en/ice/48th-session-2008/national-reports.html 179http://www.ibe.unesco.org/National_Reports/ICE_2008/brazil_NR08_es.pdf Page 44-45 180Ibid (page 43)

181Ibid (page 7)
182Ibid (page 17)
183Results of keyword search performed using Google on parent URL: http://www.ibe.unesco.org/National_Reports/ICE_2008 * Assistive/adaptive technology/devices/equipment) – 8 times (Lith., Barb., Brune., Jamac., Tanza., Afghan., Brazil, Canada) * Universal design - 3 times (Eston., Afghan., Botswana) * Accessible ICT – 0 time

* Braille – 28 times
184Ninth Meeting of the High-Level Group on Education for All, 23-25 February 2010 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ADDIS ABABA DECLARATION. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001871/187149e.pdf �
7.3.3 Other UNESCO initiatives
“Empowering Persons with Disabilities through ICTs” - UNESCO’s Pavilion at ITU Telecom World 2009 ITU Telecom World 2009 was a major event for the global telecom and ICT sector, bringing together the key players from industry from around the world.185 The event promoted the notion of “knowledge societies,” in which everybody can create, access, use and share information and knowledge. “Empowering persons with disabilities through ICTs” was the primary thematic focus of the UNESCO pavilion at the conference.186 Through a series of workshops seminars and exhibitions, UNESCO conveyed its message that “The empowerment of persons with disabilities, particularly through effective use of ICTs, is not a charity, but the fulfillment of fundamental human rights as stated in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, highlighting that “all human beings are born free and equal in rights and dignity”. UNESCO organized an expert meeting on “Mainstreaming ICTs for Persons with Disabilities to Access Information and Knowledge” on 22-23 February 2010 in Paris.187 The aim of the meeting was to discuss with experts how to facilitate implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and to identify practical ways that UNESCO could assist its Member States in this international commitment. The following recommendations for action were offered: 1. Concrete activities to make UNESCO accessible;

2. Mainstreaming ICTs in inclusive education;
3. Mobilization of resources and international cooperation; and 4. Creation of an information and knowledge access ecosystem. The UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) UNESCO’s Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) aims to promote equal access to education and inclusion of the most vulnerable segments of society through us of ICTs. To this end, IITE provides support for the development of policy on national strategies aimed at: * Increasing disadvantaged and excluded groups’ access to ICT infrastructure; * Promoting basic ICT literacy and vocational training programs targeted specifically at the most vulnerable segments of society; * Supporting regional, sub-regional and inter-country cooperation and good practice exchange on the extension of ICT usage to excluded groups. Training course: "ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs" IITE has developed a specialized training course titled "ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs." The course presents the accumulated international experience in using ICTs to educate a wide range of people with special needs. It is designed to develop competencies for those involved in special needs education on a range of issues including: * The importance of providing inclusive education to achieve equal opportunities for all; * Relevant aspects of education for students with disabilities in the Information Society; * The role of ICTs in providing inclusive education for students with disabilities; * Reflective selection and use of assistive technologies (ATs) according to the specific needs of students; * Appropriate educational conditions for successful application of accessible ICTs; * Evaluation methods related to the educational use of accessible ICTs; and * Advice on the development and implementation of ICT policy in education for children with disabilities. 185ITU Telecom World 2009, http://www.itu.int/WORLD2009/

186UNESCO, Empowering People with Disabilities through ICTs http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001847/184704e.pdf 187http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=29479&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=-465.html 7.3.4 UNICEF’s -1989 United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child The UN Children’s fund, UNICEF, works for children’s rights, survival, development and protection.188 It is guided by the 1989 Convention of the Rights of the Child. This international Convention contains specific references to the right of children with disabilities to be protected from all forms of discrimination (Article 2). Article 23 indicates that parties to the Convention should promote a life of “dignity,” “self-reliance” and “active participation in the community. “ Assistance should be extended to ensure that children with disabilities receive “education, training, health care services, rehabilitation services, preparation for employment and recreation opportunities” (Article 23 (3)). State Parties are also encouraged to participate in international cooperation to ensure that “information concerning methods of rehabilitation, education and vocational service” are shared in order to build capacity and experiences in these areas. (Article 23 (4)).189 188http://www.unicef.org/

189United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/crc.pdf �
8 Videos of assistive technologies
The following videos show a selection of the types of ATs that can be used to help control, manipulate and use a person’s environment and/or computer. Augmentative and Alternative Communication
The following video shows how Ellen, an AT user, uses switches and an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device to communicate, to access a computer and to control her surroundings at home and at college. �

Assistive Technology for blind or vision impairment
The following video shows a demonstration of the BrailleNote computer. �
The following video is a basic overview of the JAWS screen reader.� Alternative formats for deaf and hearing impairment
The following video shows how the use of captions and audio descriptions are essential for both deaf and blind students in the use of educational materials. �
9 Technical Resources
The following subsections provide lists of resources in the areas of AT,

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