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  ICT: Accessibility and Springboard for the Employability of People with Disabilities
ICT: Accessibility and Springboard for the Employability of People with Disabilities
Bassirou Ngom

Administrative Agent ADIE
Department of Digital Solidarity CENTER FOR DISABILITIES AT WORK

The rise of new information and communication technologies (NICT), starting in the 1990s, has fundamentally disrupted and changed the conception and role of IT in all sectors of economic, educational and cultural life. and social. This development has notably enabled a rationalization of working methods, design, etc. and new opportunities; new professions have opened up for businesses, companies, administrations, etc. and adapted to people with disabilities.

Unfortunately, even if these people represent a very high rate (more than 10% of the Senegalese population) in all categories, the accessibility of ICT should be an important issue, in order to promote the reduction of the digital divide and social exclusion.

The advent of microcomputers in the early 1980s revolutionized the autonomy of people with disabilities. Computer systems have made it possible to make adaptations and shortcuts according to each disability category. This well-designed IT equipment, adapted to a category of disability, allows a person living with a disability to benefit from all digital services and tools and to lead a professional and private life.
Thanks to technical designs adapted and supplemented by the implementation of accessibility, people living with disabilities could use software, consult websites, use electronic communications services in an efficient manner.

ICT would make it possible to hire these people, not only out of obligation, but because they would be able to fully exercise their profession in the precise and specific fields adapted to their type or category of disability both in business and in service. within the Administration such as: JAWS for the visually impaired.

Another difficulty for companies wishing to hire people with disabilities is the latter's lack of skills; the generalization of the use of information technologies and electronic communications in
School and university establishments, provided that they are accessible, would ultimately allow people living with disabilities to acquire the skills and diplomas that public administration and businesses need to develop.

In Senegal, several efforts have been noted, but the work is very large to put in place a bridge allowing people with disabilities to click and click again to enter a digital world. The public authorities have voted and promulgated several legislative and regulatory texts to take care of people with disabilities. The environment and socio-economic obstacles have therefore been the main limits to the full participation and equalization of opportunities for people with disabilities. For this IT equipment to be properly used by people with disabilities, the digital technical environment must be accessible. For this ICT accessibility to be effective, it is necessary to provide:

• alternatives to the keyboard and mouse, which are compulsory for the visually impaired and motor disabled,
• compliance with the operating system interface standard, for interoperability with technical aids used by disabled people, for example Microsoft Active Accessibility,
• the presentation of information on the screen in compliance with the “WCAG 2.0” rules of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

To this end, these technical computer aids were able to exist thanks to technical developments developed such as: speech synthesis, voice recognition, character recognition, etc. Such as JAWS, NVDA. The training session organized by the Digital Solidarity Department of the State IT Agency (ADIE) for the benefit of the visually impaired of CAUSE seems to be a perfect illustration.
ADIE's policy of fighting to reduce the digital divide has enabled the Digital Solidarity Directorate (DSN) to provide training for vulnerable groups and to participate in their empowerment and support for the creation of Startups.


Beyond accessibility standards, we must not neglect the power of public actors and large companies vis-à-vis their IT suppliers. They must integrate into their conceptual methods of acquiring software, electronic equipment and standard electronic communications services, accessibility criteria allowing the proper development of disabled people in their work.
Accessibility even within ADIE must be reviewed beyond the provision of IT equipment but also and above all the accessibility of websites by visually impaired and hearing impaired Internet users, etc.

This dematerialization of procedures currently embodied by ADIE should also be inspired by accessibility standards:
• WAI (Webaccessibility initiative) which is an international working group which constantly works on the construction and evolution of a framework that can be used to make a website 100% accessible to all types of disabilities.
• The W3C released WCAG (Web content accessibility guidelines) 1.0 in May 1999. This framework defines 92 rules necessary to obtain a site accessible to all disabled people. It also explains how to integrate them and gives very detailed implementation examples.

The installation of specific multimedia rooms dedicated exclusively to the hearing impaired, the visually impaired, etc. will undoubtedly be the starting point for real concrete action to combat social exclusion, combat the digital divide and the idleness of the disabled and to implementation of equitable justice breaking all social inequalities. Above all, it participates in the standardization of strategies and policies for the accessibility of people with disabilities to ICT and will therefore strengthen the involvement of ADIE in supporting these plans and programs in Senegal for better participation of all. essential ICTs for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

December 10 2019

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