Inclusive Education

WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) are essentially a checklist designed to provide access to electronic resources to persons with disabilities. These are steps we should take in order to make products, information, and services accessible to as many people as possible. Some measures are as simple as using Microsoft Word, enabling text size expansion, and implementing high contrast differences in colors on the document. The first set of standards (WCAG 2.0) was published in December 2008, with the second published 10 years later in December 2018 (WCAG 2.1). WCAG includes all requirements from WCAG 2.0 and additional resources and information. These guidelines are primarily intended for web content developers, web authoring tool developers, and web accessibility evaluation tool developers. However, students and teachers should also use these methods to make academia more accessible. In Article 24 of the CRPD countries must recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education. This must be done without discrimination and on the basis of euqal opportunity by ensuring an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning. Despite 175 convention ratified countries and 92 convention and optional protocol ratified countries, most do not adequately meet the education standards outlined in the CRPD. Education is difficult to access in many countries for reasons due to gender and ethnic and racial discrimination, not to mention more difficiult for persons with disabilities.

There have been attempts around the world from exceptional initiatives and individuals to promote access to online resources for persons with disabilities. The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ICT) was launched in 2006 by the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development in alignment with the CRPD. Its mission is to “promote the rights of persons with disabilities in the digital age.” Its main objectives through global outreach are to promote awareness of the ICT accessibility dispositions of the CRPD, support advocates and policy makers with capacity building programs, facilitate and share good practices and innovation, foster harmonization and standardization to lower costs and interoperability, and define and promote the accessibility profession. The initiative strives to accomplish these goals through many avenues such as training and certification opportunities, policy development, their annual m-enabling summit (fosters innovation and promotes accessible technologies), and institutional advocacy (often to governments). Additionally, individuals have contributed to the push towards accessible technology. Derrick Cogburn, an author and professor, has dedicated his career to global information and communication technology in regards to persons with disabilities. Cogburn worked to establish accessible cyberlearning in southeast Asia and taught a class for 12 years between different states and countries connected and presenting to each other online. These impressive initiatives and programs will connect the modern globalizing world.