4.1.4 Special policy considerations for persons with disabilities

While policy-development methodologies will vary from country to country and are dependent on the level (national, regional, local) at which they are developed, some special considerations should be taken into account when developing policies for persons with disabilities. The following considerations from the Centre for Internet and Society111 in India will help policy-makers to design policies that help persons with disabilities more effectively:

  • Involving persons with disabilities and their care-givers or advocates is a key component of the entire policy-development process.
  • Face-to-face consultations are important, particularly in areas where there is no existing access to the Internet or computers in schools.
  • It is important to build capacity and awareness of the benefits of accessible ICTs for teachers, students and their parents and care-givers. Many persons with disabilities and their families may be unaware of their rights, or of the benefits of using accessible ICTs for education, job training and employment.
  • The absence of a business case does not eliminate the need or the right to seek a policy on the use of accessible ICTs to enable inclusive education. While no figures are currently available on the return on investment in developing countries for the provision of accessible ICTs, research shows an overall positive cost benefit to countries of inclusive education.
  • A mix of approaches should be considered toward incentivizing and obliging the adoption of new policy. For example, AT development companies could be given tax breaks, and educational systems could be obliged to meet certain targets.
  • Policy-makers should not be reluctant to cooperate with disabled persons organizations in developing, promoting, implementing and monitoring implementation of policy.

111Policy Formulation for Internet and Electronic Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, Ms. Nirmita Narasimhan, Programme Manager, Centre for Internet and Society http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/asp/CMS/Events/2009/PwDs/programme.asp#Nirmita