In this context, it is essential that peoples in Qatar and beyond, have the required competencies to use and develop universally accessible ICTs, in particular in Arabic language, as well as appropriate assistive technologies, and make it part of their professional practices towards maintaining an inclusive workplace, and bridging the digital divide and making ICTs accessible to every user, so that no one will be left behind. On this premise, education, training and long life learning programmes harnessing the power of ICTs can enable all persons, including those with disabilities, to develop the necessary ICT accessibility and inclusive design ICT-AID relevant competencies for life and work.
In response, MADA has developed the ICT-AID Competency Framework to guide training of students and workers on the foundation in ICT accessibility and inclusive design which allows the intended audience to make a sense of the experience of disability related to the use of ICTs, and to increase their accessibility awareness when using and creating electronic materials, and to apply accessibility standards and techniques, including W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, so that they will be well prepared to excel in their accessibility professions and contribute in the creation of accessible products, content and services.
Mada has been working with its partners, in collaboration with a group of experts, to commissioning the ICT-AID competency framework, considered as the first in its kind on digital accessibility in Arabic language, in a bid to advance the level of understanding, using, and developing accessible ICTs at different levels in the region.
In the same way, Mada, as part of its endeavors to enabling equal opportunity for all and to ensuring an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning through ICT education, is collaborating with ISKME to launch the “Mada ICTA-AID OER Hub”. Mada Hub is meant to be the Mada branded portal on OER Commons where accessible resources are aggregated, curated and managed through collections, and groups, and development tools. The Hub provides the following services:
- Gathering collections of Accessible Open Education Resources (OER) (in Arabic and English languages) curated by Mada and partners, aligned to the Mada ICT Accessibility and Inclusive Design Competency Framework (ICT-AID) and in compliance with W3C accessibility standards;
- Offering dedicated groups to partners in order to organize, collaborate, and share Mada ICT-AID aligned resources;
- Managing and supporting activities of AIAEG Arab ICT Accessibility Expert Groups (Accessible OER, ICT-AID competency framework, Digital Educational Content Accessibility, ICT Accessibility Standards localization, UDL, Policy and advocacy, ICT accessibility accreditation and incentives, etc.).