The disability community represents over one billion people in world. Regardless of this large percentage, equal opportunities are not provided, especially amongst the education sector. Technological literacy is fundamental for social and digital inclusion, however many disabled learners to not have access to proper education opportunities to advance these skills. The UNESCO Model Policy for Inclusive ICTs in Education assists countries in the pursuits of creating an inclusive education framework based upon Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Inclusive ICTS for education aim to mainstream technologies to all individuals. This includes making computers, web browsers, mobile phones, and word processors accessible to learners with and without disabilities. This could be as easy as supplementing technological instructions with an online video with captioning. However, one must have a computer to access this, which is a further determinant for exclusive education.
Inclusive ICTS for learners depends on eliminating the digital divide. The digital divide refers to “the gap between those who can benefit from digital technology and those who cannot ”(2012, 46). Eliminating the digital divide requires public funding and subsidies and depends on a public-private partnerships.Considering the private sector plays a large role in the R&D stages, inclusivity and accessibility must be acknowledged and integrated. If certain companies do not assume inclusivity and accessibility in R&D stages, it will be nearly impossible to achieve inclusive education. Not only do Inclusive ICTs expand opportunities for marginalized communities, they can also expand market opportunities for private corporations, thus generating greater profits for Inclusive R&D.
Education is integral to social and economic development. Inclusive ICTs have the opportunity to give a voice to the voiceless, cultivate greater awareness of social, political, and environmental issues. Most importantly, ICTs can bring different people and cultures together.
Model Policy for Inclusive ICTS in Education for Persons with Disabilities. (2014). UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. France.