A concerted effort for the usage of accessible ICT devices supporting children with disabilities in low-income contexts
- Eight-State Inclusive Education Programme
- Country of Implementation
- Start Year
- First published
“Without the support of the project, I would not have been able to study, let alone score the highest marks in my school.” Manoranjan, student, Inclusive Education Programme, Sightsavers India
Sightsavers India is a national NGO working in the fields of inclusive education and social inclusion. Their project provides accessible ICT devices such as DAISY players, mobile phones, laptops loaded with accessible textbooks, and other learning materials to children in remote areas. It works with state education systems and simultaneously builds the capacities of various DPOs to advocate for usage of these devices. The project started in five districts in 2018, and by 2023 it has been scaled up to 20 districts in eight states.
Learners with visual impairments in India have much less access to ICT and accessible materials than their fully-sighted peers.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Sightsavers India is supporting the provision of age-appropriate ICT devices and related training to children. These devices include DAISY players (audio book players), smartphones, laptops, and associated software (e.g., screen readers with Hindi and 16 regional languages built in). School textbooks and other learning materials are made available in e-libraries, including materials in regional languages. Children are also provided with the training, coaching, and mentoring that enables them to use these ICT devices for multiple purposes, such as word-processing, recording lessons, surfing the Internet, and communicating with their friends, family, and teachers. In addition, block resource centres have been developed that serve as digital resource centres, e-libraries for print-disabled learners have been established, and eight states have assumed significant levels of financial, technical, and administrative responsibility for ICT provision. Sightsavers India has also assisted DPOs to audit schools and to lobby state education ministries to fund ICT provision for learners with disabilities. In 2022 the programme supported more than 6,000 learners with visual impairments enrolled in mainstream primary and secondary schools.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The project was originally funded by the corporate social responsibility budgets of larger Indian companies, which by law must dedicate 2 per cent of their revenues to social causes. Going forward, four State Education Departments allocated INR 110m ($1.300,000) to ICT for these learners in their 2023/24 budgets. Moreover, the programme has been embedded in regional state work plans and budgets, ensuring long-term funding sources. (Awardee 2024)