Is official data available on public buildings, including schools and universities, that comply with the ISO 21542:2011 standards on accessibility and usability of the built environment?
ISO 21542:2011 specifies a range of requirements and recommendations for many of the elements of construction, assemblies, components and fittings which comprise the built environment. These requirements relate to the constructional aspects of access to buildings, to circulation within buildings, to egress from buildings in the normal course of events and evacuation in the event of an emergency. It also deals with aspects of accessibility management in buildings.
The situation related to schools and universities that are ISO 21542:2011 certified does not show a promising picture: only 2 percent of respondents gave a green light, stating that official data is available on schools and universities which comply with this standard. In some countries this data might be collected but only for internal use and therefore not publicly available and/or each school has individual records but it is not possible to get an overview on which university or school is certified and which not. (Ireland, New Zealand). In regards to the United Nations sustainable development goal ‘build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all’ this overall situation is considered to be changing in future.
Meera Shenoy, Youth4Jobs Foundation, India: “There is data available of govt. buidlings that are earmarked to become accessible by 2016 in major cities across India.” http://socialjustice.nic.in/pdf/SP-AIC13715.pdf
Article 9 Accessibility
- To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:
- Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;
- Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.
- States Parties shall also take appropriate measures:
- To develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public;
- To ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities;
- To provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities;
- To provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms;
- To provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public;
- To promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information;
- To promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet;
- To promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.