5.2.1 Funding models for using accessible, connected schools as MCTs and TVET centers

In the TASCHA study, a mix of funding models were observed in different countries, although all projects examined were part of the POETA programme of international aid (see POETA case study for more details). In line with the POETA policy of collaborating with local partners, funding was also received from municipal and national governments. In the context of the five countries examined in the study,152 there was no trend observed that participants were unwilling or unable to pay a ”nominal amount” for access to ICT and job skills training.

The biggest barrier for functional access to technology was found to be the prohibitively high cost of AT software. For example, in the case study from Mexico city, AT such as a JAWS screen reader and MAGic were only provided in demo versions, requiring the user to reboot the machine every 40 minutes. While a number of projects are under way to develop ATs such as screen readers in underserved languages, these are currently insufficient to meet the worldwide need for the localization of these technologies. (See ITU and UN ESCAP Bangkok conference proceedings on “Mainstreaming ICT Accessibility for persons with Disabilities”). The TASCHA study concludes that the development of affordable ATs – screen readers- in local languages should be “a defining agenda for research and practice in technology in the developing world”153.

Some aid organizations and technology companies worldwide offer subsidized versions of proprietary software (see case study from Kenya). The TASCHA studies conclude that such a model is unsustainable and that efforts should focus on building the capacity nationally and internationally to produce affordable and localized AT.154

152Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela

153TASCHA page 80

154TASCHA page 80