IGF 2019 WS #304 Accessible ICT in education & employment

Organizer 1: Gunela Astbrink, Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group
Organizer 2: Gerry Ellis, Feel The BenefIT
Organizer 3: Judith Hellerstein, H&A
Organizer 4: G. Anthony Giannoumis, Oslo Metropolitan University
Organizer 5: Andrea Saks, G3ict

Speaker 1: Jorge Manhique, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Nidhi Goyal , Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Patrick Ojok, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Vashkar Bhattacharjee, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: Peter Crosbie, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

1. What are the societal and cultural factors that become barriers in accessing education and employment for people with disability?
2. How do we ensure that physical accessibility to schools, universities and places of employment is linked with digital accessibility for people with disability?
3. Do user interfaces and websites help or hamper people with disability in improving their productivity in education and employment?
4. What is the way forward to remove the barriers in education and employment of people with disability?
5. How can the global south influence ICT accessibility standards?

Relevance to Theme: Accessibility for people with disability is fundamental to digital inclusion. Improved educational and employment opportunities are needed for equal participation of persons with disability in society. People with disability are, according to WHO, about 1.5 billion or 15% of the world’s population.

With technology being an integral part of education and employment, this roundtable is highly relevant to the theme of digital inclusion.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Education and employment are fundamental rights as outlined in Articles 23 and 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It enhances a human being’s sense of worth and belonging in society and contributes to the individual’s and a community’s social capital.

International instruments such as SDGs and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (UNCRPD) promote the accessibility of educational and employment opportunities for people with disability. The UNCRPD’s Article 9 on ICT accessibility and W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are clearly relevant to Internet Governance.


Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Description: The roundtable will stimulate a wide-ranging discussion on addressing critical policy questions. The roundtable topic will be introduced and explained to set the scene. Speakers will be introduced and will give short opening statements of around two minutes each. The moderator will then lead the discussion based on the policy questions. The moderator will encourage participants to give case studies and examples to illustrate policy points.

For example, as students, accessibility or rather inaccessibility of online learning platforms is an issue that people with disability have to face. Some workplaces increasingly make use of online forums for performance, communication and collaboration for employees. The inaccessibility of these forums is creating a new set of problems for persons with disability.

When accessibility is considered as part of mainstream design considerations, it benefits many groups in many different situations. This is referred to as universal or inclusive design.

The roundtable will have a strong focus on issues in the global south. The discussion will be framed in terms of how accessibility and universal design of technologies are addressed in policy and legislation in the global south and will also offer practical examples of accessibility issues for staff and students in Ugandan public universities.

Understanding the practicalities of accessibility helps to focus policy debate. The roundtable will include a discussion of how books are made available on the open source DAISY platform to provide accessible learning materials for students with vision impairment.

Once all the policy questions have been addressed, the moderator will summarise the main discussion points especially in terms of moving forwards with key strategies to improve digital accessibility to education and employment for people with disability. The roundtable will conclude with closing remarks.

Roll call of all participants, onsite and remote - 10 minutes
Introduction and scene-setting – 10 minutes
Opening statements by speakers – 10 minutes
Guided discussion and debate based on policy questions - 45 minutes
Summary of discussion – 10 minutes
Closing remarks – 5 minutes

Expected Outcomes: The expected robust discussion in the roundtable should lead to a number of strategies to guide further policy discussions in removing barriers to accessing education and employment for people with disability. This will be documented and further discussed in forthcoming DCAD meetings.

Onsite Moderator: 

Gerry Ellis, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Judith Hellerstein, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


G. Anthony Giannoumis, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

The moderator of the workshop will at the beginning take a roll call of all the participants and their affiliations, so that the moderator can call on individuals to comment on subjects pertaining to their interest. This is especially useful as the moderator is blind.
Online Participation:
The workshop will use the ITU Guidelines for supporting remote participation in meetings for all (http://www.itu.int/pub/T-TUT-FSTP-2015-ACC). The moderator will have the full list of remote participants and their affiliations. Should there be persons who are blind participating remotely who cannot access directly the remote participation tool, because they are not able to access the 'hand-raising' mechanism with their screen reader, they will be recognised by the online moderator during the discussion session so that they are able to make comments directly.

Online Participation: 

The main proposer participated in the 2018 remote hub and moderator webinar that assisted in better understanding the online participation processes. Judith Hellerstein, the online moderator is experienced in this role and has strong capacity to ensure that any remote participants will given every opportunity to participate in the discussion.


GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals