All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development urges global education audience at mEducation Alliance Symposium to incorporate accessibility features at the onset of EdTech development.
One sentiment echoed several times through the great hall of the United States Institute of Peace on November 8, 2018: Digital does not mean accessible for children with disabilities.
It’s difficult to fathom that in our global interconnected world of information and technological advances, nearly a quarter of a billion children are not learning basic literacy and numeracy skills—whether in school or not. This mass learning deficit poses one of the world’s most daunting challenges, and yet seems ripe for technology-enabled solutions.
At age 15, Louis Braille invented a system that opened up the world of reading to people who are blind, deaf-blind, and low vision. While attending the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris in 1824, he created the tactile system of six dots in a three by two grid to represent letters, numbers, and symbols.
Worldwide, there is estimated to be between 93 million and 150 million children with disabilities, though actual numbers are likely higher. Of these children, 80% live in developing countries and less than 3% are in school. Education systems often do not accommodate these children’s needs.