The DAISY Consortium is an international association located in Switzerland. Its membership is global and directly involves 10 European countries. The Consortium develops standards (Digital Accessible Information System - DAISY) and applications, which conform to recognised standards for the production, distribution and use of accessible information covering the whole range of published documents (from leisure reading to highly structured text books and educational material).
Strategically, the DAISY Consortium aims at incorporating accessibility into mainstream digital publishing workflows. In this respect, the incorporation of key accessibility requirements (covering navigation, text and audio synchronisation, support for MathML, support for text-to-speech production and global language support [vertical, left-to-right and right-to-left writing systems]) into the revised EPUB (eBooks) standard (version 3) adopted by the International Digital Publishing Forum in October 2011 is a milestone.
A prerequisite of successful lifelong learning (from school to post compulsory educational opportunities) is to have access to knowledge and information whatever the special needs of an individual person are. DAISY follows the principles of universal design which aim to deliver the best results - meaning maximum benefit to target groups including people with a broad spectrum of print disability related special needs – at a minimum of additional costs.
The DAISY Consortium’s input to the ICT4IAL network activities will specifically focus on Quality Assurance, particularly regarding the production, distribution and use of accessible information (eBooks = electronic documents and books of any kind). In addition the DAISY Consortium will contribute to the development of the guidelines, their Implementation as well as participate in dissemination and exploitation activities focusing on their global network.
European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education
The Agency is an independent and self-governing organisation, established by the member countries to act as their platform for collaboration in the field of special needs education. The Agency currently has national networks in 29 European countries and is financed by the member countries’ Ministries of Education and the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Programme, as one of the institutions pursuing an aim of European interest in the field of education.
The Agency’s role in the project was the practical management and administration of the project; practical organisation of project events; developing implementing and evaluating the guidelines; as well as producing, promoting and disseminating project outcomes.
European Schoolnet (EUN) is a unique not-for-profit consortium of 30 Ministries of Education in Europe created in 1997. EUN provides major European education portals for teaching, learning and collaboration and leads the way in bringing about change in schooling through the use of new technology. Since its establishment, EUN has been supporting the European dimension in schools. This goal is achieved through projects, competitions, communication and information exchange at all levels of school education using innovative technologies.
EUN is at the crossroads of national and regional education networks, building synergies between communities of teachers, learners, developers, researchers and policy-makers. EUN’s work is organised in 3 strands corresponding to its core objective of supporting the efficient use of ICT in education and the European dimension in education: Policy, research and innovation; Schools services and Learning resource exchange and interoperability.
As a major representative of schools across Europe and an important information provider to and on the use of ICT in the education sector, EUN will assist in the drafting and testing of the Guidelines for the Implementation of Information Accessibility in Learning. EUN will also organise, within the timeline of the network activities, a seminar linked to one of its own events related to the topic. EUN will play an active role in promoting and enhancing accessibility of information provision and will give feedback from the school sector regarding the possible implementation of the Guidelines. EUN will disseminate information on the project and its outcomes (including the Guidelines) within the education sector across Europe.
International Association of Universities
The International Association of Universities (IAU) is an international NGO in partnership of Association with UNESCO. It is located on UNESCO’s premises, in Paris, France. It is a worldwide association of higher education institutions (HEIs). Today, the Association represents HEIs from 120 countries worldwide and 42 countries from the European region. It presently works on access and equity in higher education (HE) where the focus is upon topics relating to ethnic background, disabilities, language, location or social background. IAU has a statement on HEIs and ICTs recommending that the Association 'act as a platform for information sharing in regard to the use of ICTs in higher education, stimulating exchange of expertise and disseminating examples of good practices'. IAU has a great interest in projects that look at education in a holistic way as shown by its project on the linkages between HE and the Education For All United Nations initiative. IAU is currently developing new activities exploring Open Educational Resources (OER).
As a major representative of higher education institutions worldwide and in Europe and an important information provider to and on the higher education sector, IAU assisted in the drafting and testing of the Guidelines for the Implementation of Information Accessibility in Learning. IAU also organised, within the timeline of network activities, a seminar linked to one of its own events related to the topic. IAU played an active role in promoting and enhancing accessibility of information provision and gave feedback from the higher education sector regarding the possible implementation of the Guidelines. IAU largely disseminated information on the project and its outcomes (including the Guidelines) within the higher education community worldwide.
Global Initiative of Inclusive ICTs
G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – is an Advocacy Initiative of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, launched in December 2006 in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the CRPD promoting digital accessibility and assistive technologies. Participating organisations include industry, academia, the public sector and organisations representing persons with disabilities. G3ict relies on an international network of ICT accessibility experts (including the World Wide Web Consortium/Web Accessibility Initiative) to develop practical tools, evaluation methods and benchmarks for States Parties, Disabled Persons Organisations and corporations.
Its collection of publications and reports on various aspects of ICT accessibility can be consulted at: http://www.g3ict.org
The data collection for its annual benchmark study, the CRPD Progress Report on ICT Accessibility is organised in cooperation with Disabled Persons’ International National Assemblies from around the world.
G3ict operates with a staff of five persons including two part time persons, three part time analysts on secondment from other organisations and an extensive network of over 100 experts in ICT accessibility contributing to its workshops and conferences, toolkit, publication and research projects. It is exclusively supported by financial contributions from corporations and foundations including IBM, Microsoft, AT&T, Adobe, Time Warner Cable, Samsung, TecAccess, Deque Systems, Internet Speech, Air France, LucyTech, Vodafone, Sprint, EJ Krause and Associates, Dominic Foundation, HSC Foundation, Fondazione Rosselli Americas, the Hans Foundation, and the Mozilla Foundation; and contributions of experts by the National Disability Authority of Ireland, the World Blind Union, the International Telecommunication Union, the United States National Council on Disability, and the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore, India.
The role of G3ict in the project was to support the other ICT4IAL network partners in different activities, including developing methodologies, quality assurance, organising seminars, editing reports and disseminating and exploiting the results of the project.
Since its foundation in 1945, UNESCO as the only United Nations specialised agency for education, science, culture, communication and information, works towards creating the conditions for peace and dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared human values. Being an international organisation, UNESCO’s unique competencies contribute to the realisation of internationally agreed development goals, including those related to education and lifelong learning using ICTs. Through its large network of field offices and National Commissions – covering 195 countries globally and 45 European countries - as well as being a founder of numerous networks on various thematic areas around the world, UNESCO has a comparative advantage to act as a normative setter, catalyst of ideas, clearing- house and capacity builder within the areas of its global mandate.
Within the UN system, UNESCO leads the implementation of the Education for All goals, aiming to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults. It promotes the ultimate goal of inclusive education, which is viewed as a means to ensuring a quality education for all and to achieving wider social inclusion goals around the world. The access to accessible information for marginalised social groups – such as people with disabilities - is also reflected in the strategic documents and related projects as well as programmes such as the Intergovernmental Programme Information for All (IFAP). UNESCO also contributes to the implementation of the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and Millennium Development Goals and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The commitment to provide accessible information using ICTs is reflected in several international normative instruments in the field of education, science, communication and information and realized through concrete projects that provide a solid ground for the building the inclusive information and knowledge societies.
UNESCO believes that the recognition of human rights and providing access to information and knowledge, particularly through innovative use of media and ICTs, are conducive to ensuring that every citizen can contribute to social and economic development.
Building strategic partnerships and thematic networks are among the overarching objectives of UNESCO that are seen as driving force of sustainable development, not only in respect of economic growth, but also as effective means for lifelong learning, exchange of ideas and experiences, awareness raising and visibility at different levels.
Within the ICT4IAL network activities, UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector, Knowledge Societies Division that has extensive expertise and experience in managing similar projects and initiatives at the global level, contributed its expertise and experience in this field and support the establishment of the multi-disciplinary network for the development and application of the Guidelines for Information Accessibility and its relevance for learning. UNESCO will provide feedback on and international validation of the ICT4IAL guidelines and promote them inside and beyond Europe. UNESCO’s input ensured the ICT4IAL guidelines are fully in line with international normative instruments such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD 2006).