17 April 2023

Paraguay Research Report on ADT pilot

Abstract In the Latin America and Caribbean region, more than 19 million children have a disability. Although school attendance and completion rates have increased steadily over the last 20 years in the region, barriers to access quality education are still too high for children and adolescents with disabilities. In Paraguay, disability is a major factor associated with school participation and learning levels. The Accessible Digital Textbooks for All (ADT) initiative, implements accessible digital tools and content to make learning accessible to all students - with and without disabilities - in the same classroom. This report presents the research results of the piloting of an accessible digital textbook for children with and without disabilities in Paraguay. The report provides results across three areas. First, it analyses the familiarity with and ability of teachers and students to interact with technology. Second, it investigates the pedagogical practices used for inclusive education and to integrate the accessible digital textbook as a tool in the classroom by teachers to support inclusion. Third, it presents recommendations for improving the content and interface of the accessible digital textbook. This study is part of longer-term multi-country research examining the implementation of accessible digital textbooks. Future research will explore the impact of the use of the ADT on student learning on a larger scale.
14 April 2023

Accessible Digital Textbooks Case Study for Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda

It is well recognized and documented that access to quality education enhances girls’ and boys’ potential for social and economic security as well as reduces poverty. Creating inclusive schools that lead to learning is the fundamental challenge for education systems in the Eastern and Southern Africa region. Inclusive education refers to a wide range of strategies, activities and processes to make a reality of the universal right to quality, relevant and appropriate education. To address the challenge of realizing meaningful learning experiences for all children in inclusive education settings, assistive technology is crucial in addition to accessible infrastructure, trained teachers and disability friendly school environment. The global Accessible Digital Textbooks (ADT) initiative, funded by UNPRPD was implemented in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda by ministries of education and partners with support from UNESCO and UNICEF from May 29, 2019 to April 30, 2022, and building on Uganda’s earlier pilot on provision of learning materials for learners with visual and hearing impairments implemented from October 2014 to June 2019. Accessible digital textbooks that are developed using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles support different learning styles hence can be used in inclusive education classrooms by learners with and without disabilities. Grounded on the UNCRPD and Marrakesh Treaty and with the aim to leave no child behind in learning, the initiative was designed to enhance partnership between designers of curricula, OPDs, teachers, publishers and parents. Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda developed ADTs by adapting the identified components of the primary school curriculum into accessible formats. These ADTs were then loaded onto available devices – tablets, laptops and respective country “education clouds” for use by learners in classrooms. Teachers were also trained on the use of ADT/AT/UDL for effective pedagogy. Awareness raising, advocacy and capacity building on key global instruments particularly the UNCRPD and Marrakesh Treaty for ratification and domestication were also conducted. Guidance documents were also generated: on the use of sign language in ADT development; and on procurement of ICT equipment for Persons with Disabilities in Rwanda. This case study draws from country implementation experiences as well as stakeholders’ experiences and lessons learned during the life of project. Using the 7 key strategies for building an effective ADT ecosystem, the case study highlights important processes that can be emulated as countries strive to achieve effective learning for all learners in inclusive education settings.
18 March 2020

Uganda evaluation on provision of accessible learning materials

Uganda has embraced inclusive education and is committed to improving the inclusion of children with visual and hearing impairment in education. This is evident from the country’s rich policies and the international conventions Uganda is signatory to. However, policy implementation remains weak and so there are still a number of gaps in the provision of education for children with disabilities, including those with Visual Impairment (VI) and Hearing Impairment (HI). It is, therefore, for this reason that UNICEF, together with the Government of Uganda, designed a project to provide Accessible Learning Materials for children with Visual and Hearing Impairment and address some of the gaps that exist. This report presents findings of the evaluation of this project. The data for this evaluation was collected from eight of the 16 districts in which the project was implemented. From each district, one school was selected purposively to ensure inclusion of schools with visual and hearing-impaired learners. From each school the headteacher, teachers, Primary 4 and 6 children with visual and hearing impairment, Primary 4 and 6 children without impairment, parents, district officials, and teacher educators participated in the evaluation. In total, 173 respondents (92 males and 81 females) participated in the evaluation. Data was collected using interviews, focus group discussions, and lesson observations. In addition, documents were reviewed. Data analysis of qualitative data involved identification of themes while frequencies and percentages were derived for the quantitative data.