All organisations whose mission is to act as information providers in the field of Lifelong Learning have a duty to make their information accessible for everyone. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) emphasises:
- the obligation to ‘provide accessible information to persons with disabilities’ (Art.4);
- the need for ‘the design, development, production and distribution of accessible ICT’ (Art.9);
- the right to education ‘without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity’ for persons with disabilities (Art.24).
Key information providers within lifelong learning – such as the European Agency for Development in Special Needs and Inclusive Education (the Agency) – need clear guidance on translating policy and standards into practical tasks for implementation, making use of innovative ICT solutions in a sustainable way. It is argued by the Agency that a main barrier for providing accessible information is not the lack of flexible ICT solutions, but a lack of clarity on what policy relating to accessibility implies and the necessary ways forward to implementing accessibility standards effectively within organisational processes.
Accessible Information Provision for Lifelong Learning (i-access) is a one year project co-financed by a European Community Grant under the Lifelong Learning Transversal Programme, Key Activity 1: Policy Co-operation and Innovation.
Project aims and outcomes
The main aims of the project are:
- to use existing European and international policy and standards for information accessibility as a basis for discussing the implications as well as the practical implementation of accessible information provision within Lifelong Learning and
- to produce clear recommendations agreed at the European level by key stakeholders for Lifelong Learning and accessible ICT that can be used by information providers across Europe to support the provision of accessible information for Lifelong Learning for all learners who need it.
The project outcomes include:
- i-access conference held in Copenhagen from 22-24 June, hosted by the Agency and the Danish Ministry of Education, to discuss the implications of accessible information for Lifelong Learning, as well as identifying practical recommendations;
- conference report summarising the conference presentations and debates;
- i-access recommendations (for accessible information provision) based an the conference agreements (translated into all Agency languages);
- a collection of useful resources;
- a glossary of terms;
- a dissemination package including a collection of practical examples;
- a collection of National level dissemination examples.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This information reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.