7.3.3 Other UNESCO initiatives

“Empowering Persons with Disabilities through ICTs” - UNESCO’s Pavilion at ITU Telecom World 2009

ITU Telecom World 2009 was a major event for the global telecom and ICT sector, bringing together the key players from industry from around the world.185 The event promoted the notion of “knowledge societies,” in which everybody can create, access, use and share information and knowledge. “Empowering persons with disabilities through ICTs” was the primary thematic focus of the UNESCO pavilion at the conference.186 Through a series of workshops seminars and exhibitions, UNESCO conveyed its message that

The empowerment of persons with disabilities, particularly through effective use of ICTs, is not a charity, but the fulfillment of fundamental human rights as stated in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, highlighting that “all human beings are born free and equal in rights and dignity”.

UNESCO organized an expert meeting on “Mainstreaming ICTs for Persons with Disabilities to Access Information and Knowledge” on 22-23 February 2010 in Paris.187 The aim of the meeting was to discuss with experts how to facilitate implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and to identify practical ways that UNESCO could assist its Member States in this international commitment. The following recommendations for action were offered:

1. Concrete activities to make UNESCO accessible;
2. Mainstreaming ICTs in inclusive education;
3. Mobilization of resources and international cooperation; and
4. Creation of an information and knowledge access ecosystem.

The UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE)

UNESCO’s Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) aims to promote equal access to education and inclusion of the most vulnerable segments of society through us of ICTs. To this end, IITE provides support for the development of policy on national strategies aimed at:

  • Increasing disadvantaged and excluded groups’ access to ICT infrastructure;
  • Promoting basic ICT literacy and vocational training programs targeted specifically at the most vulnerable segments of society;
  • Supporting regional, sub-regional and inter-country cooperation and good practice exchange on the extension of ICT usage to excluded groups.

Training course: "ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs"

IITE has developed a specialized training course titled "ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs." The course presents the accumulated international experience in using ICTs to educate a wide range of people with special needs. It is designed to develop competencies for those involved in special needs education on a range of issues including:

  • The importance of providing inclusive education to achieve equal opportunities for all;
  • Relevant aspects of education for students with disabilities in the Information Society;
  • The role of ICTs in providing inclusive education for students with disabilities;
  • Reflective selection and use of assistive technologies (ATs) according to the specific needs of students;
  • Appropriate educational conditions for successful application of accessible ICTs;
  • Evaluation methods related to the educational use of accessible ICTs; and
  • Advice on the development and implementation of ICT policy in education for children with disabilities.