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i-access Conference

General Information on the Outcomes of the i-access Conference

The i-access conference was held in Copenhagen from 22-24 June and was hosted by the European Agency for Development in Special Needs and Inclusive Education and the Danish Ministry of Education.
The aim of this conference was to identify the implications of International and European policy on accessibility for information providers in the field of education. The processes that organisations need to consider in order to ensure accessible information provision were also identified. The objective was then to collate this information and develop recommendations for the implementation of i-accessibility.
The conference delegates included: key information providers for lifelong learning (European Schoolnet, International Association of Universities), including decision makers and multipliers (journalists and researchers in the field) nominated by the Agency’s country representatives; representatives of stakeholder groups working with accessible ICT (Adobe, Daisy Consortium, Microsoft, W3C/WAI) and International organisations (UNESCO and G3ict). They  reflected on policy requirements and current practice regarding the accessibility of information relevant for lifelong learning. All parties identified key issues relevant for developing a set of proposed recommendations.

Following the discussions 7 areas for recommendations were agreed:
  1. Raising awareness and sensitising all stakeholders of the importance of i-access
  2. Multi-stakeholder approach and International co-operation;
  3. Accessibility issues covered in education and training for professionals in lifelong learning;
  4. Accessibility issues covered in education and training for professionals in ICT;
  5. Procurement;
  6. Promoting research and developing an evidence base for future policy design, implementation and evaluation
  7. Monitoring of compliance to accessibility policy.
The guiding principles for these areas are:
  • Access to information is a fundamental right, which applies to lifelong learning.
  • The long-term advantages of designing technology and processes based on a universal design approach is that it avoids costly “add-ons” for accessibility sake at later times. 
  • it is vital for any policy or recommendation not to see technology as an end in itself, without considering the systemic factors which determine the usage of this tool for lifelong learning. 
  • That i-access needs to be considered in its widest interpretation including all forms of disabilities and/or special needs - What benefits users with disabilities and/or special needs, may often benefit all users.

The full i-access conference report and all conference presentations are now available for download.

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.