Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), People with Functional Limitations (PFLs), and the Elderly, face daily challenges and barriers in different sectors, especially the ICT field, which result in their exclusion accessing and using digital technologies, limiting therefore their access to diverse online services, educational opportunities as well as employment.
At he global level, it is recognized that accessibility is essential for individuals and organizations towards removing barriers hindering access to ICTs, and creating high-quality products and services that are as far as possible, universally accessible and usable by a large spectrum of users.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights the pivotal role and the significant potential of ICTs to bridge the digital divide and to support the development of inclusive Knowledge Societies. Accordingly, the 2030 Agenda has required United Nations member states to promote access for persons with disabilities to ICTs.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities UNCRPD, to which Qatar is a signatory, recognizes accessibility as a human right and requires signatories to adopt appropriate measures for access for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others to ICTs, emergency services and Internet services.
The Ministry of Transport and Communication in Qatar introduced the national e-Accessibility policy to make ICT more accessible for persons with disabilities. The policy is aimed at ensuring that people with disabilities in Qatar have equal access to the technologies that can enrich their lives, and covered a range of e-Accessibility issues, including websites, telecommunications services, handsets, ATMs, government services, education, access to assistive technologies and digital content.
ICTQATAR's trategy ICT2015 commits the nation to developing an ICT-skilled population whose members share equal access to technology and can succeed in a knowledge economy. This effort includes the prioritization of disadvantaged demographic groups, especially women, retirees and people with disabilities.
It is essential that peoples in Qatar and beyond, have the required competencies to use and develop universally accessible ICTs, in particular in Arabic language, as well as appropriate assistive technologies, and make it part of their professional practices towards maintaining an inclusive workplace, and bridging the digital divide and making ICTs accessible to every user, so that no one will be left behind. On this premise, education, training and long life learning programmes harnessing the power of ICTs can enable all persons, including those with disabilities, to develop the necessary ICT accessibility and inclusive design ICT-AID relevant competencies for life and work.
In response, MADA has developed the ICT-AID Competency Framework to guide training of students and workers on the foundation in ICT accessibility and inclusive design which allows the intended audience to make a sense of the experience of disability related to the use of ICTs, and to increase their accessibility awareness when using and creating electronic materials, and to apply accessibility standards and techniques, including W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, so that they will be well prepared to excel in their accessibility professions and contribute in the creation of accessible products, content and services.
Mada has been working with its partners, in collaboration with a group of experts, to commissioning the ICT-AID competency framework, considered as the first in its kind on digital accessibility in Arabic language, in a bid to advance the level of understanding, using, and developing accessible ICTs at different levels in the region.
The main objective of the MADA ICT-AID competency framework is to provide the community with a framework that can be used as a template to assist educational institutions, organizations and individuals in delimiting the required relevant competencies in the ICT accessibility and inclusive design field. This framework can help in creating learning resources and teaching materials on ICT accessibility and inclusive design, and also to make other courses accessible.
The MADA ICT-AID competency framework can be adapted for use in different learning contexts and modes, and availed as a tool for designing and structuring learning and training content in the field of ICT accessibility. It contains a coherent set of competencies necessary to apply, review, and evaluate the accessibility of digital content and platforms in compliance with International ICT Accessibility standards and best practices.
The intended audience for the MADA ICT-AID competency framework include, but not limited to decision makers, administrators, and teachers responsible for curriculum formulation and implementation within educational and training institutions, organizations, as well as experts in the fields of ICTs, inclusive digital education, social affairs, business and industry, innovation and research. Education programmes and certifications prepared based on MADA ICT-AID competency framework are intended to cover a large spectrum of occupations including digital content writers, Web content managers, administrators, web developers, designers, instructional designers, digital education specialists, disability service providers, teachers, project managers, ICT managers, marketing staff, communications specialists and managers, etc.
D1. Becoming familiar with Disability and Accessibility
D1.1 Distinguishing theoretical Models of Disability
D1.2 Recognizing the major types of Disabilities and their impact on lives of PWDs
D1.3 Demonstrating Understanding of Accessibility
D1.4 Describing and following disability etiquette guidelines for interacting with PWDs.
D2. Describing the legal landscape of Disability and Accessibility
D2.1 Identifying and characterizing main Laws, Declarations and Conventions on Human Disability Rights
D2.2 Recognizing key ICT Accessibility regulations, policies and best practices
D2.3 Identifying ICT Accessibility standards
- D2.4 Integrating ICT Accessibility across the organization
D3. Making a sense of Universal Design
D4. Creating Accessible Digital Content
D4.1 Identifying major Accessibility considerations to common digital formats
D4.2 Creating Accessible Word-processing documents
D4.3 Creating Accessible Presentation documents
D4.4 Creating Accessible PDF documents
- D4.5 Generalizing Accessibility considerations for different multimedia formats
D5. Creating Accessible Web Content
D5.1 Demonstrating understanding of Web Accessibility
D5.2 Designing and creating web content in accordance with the W3C Accessibility specifications
D5.3 Testing and evaluating Web Accessibility
D5.4 Remediating inaccessible Web document
D6. Making Digital Environments and Platforms Accessible
D6.1 Identifying and applying the basic principles of Mobile Applications Accessibility
D6.2 Evaluating Mobile Applications Accessibility
D6.3 Identifying Accessibility considerations for improved game Accessibility
D6.4 Ensuring the Accessibility of emerging digital technologies