What is Accessibility?
“Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. Web accessibility also benefits others, including older people with changing abilities due to aging.” - W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).
When we talk about web accessibility, we are really talking about digital accessibility as the same principles apply across mobile applications and other digital products. In layman’s term, digital accessibility is ensuring your website and mobile apps can be accessed by everyone regardless of barriers, providing content is reachable in every possible direction; it’s making sure you haven’t excluded people with visual, hearing, motor or cognitive impairments from your content.
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Why Accessibility is important?
In education, web accessibility means that websites, technologies, and tools are developed and specially designed so that individuals with disabilities can use them. Web accessibility enables these students to navigate, interact, and understand website content and online educational tools.
'The National education Policy (NEP) 2020 envisages that education is the foremost primary measure to achieve economic and social mobility; inclusion. and equality. The Government India launched the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) to ensure the equal participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all activities, Recognizing, accommodating and meeting the needs of the persons with disabilities coming from diverse backgrounds. it becomes the primary responsibility for the higher education institutions (HEIs) to provide the facilities that enable persons with disabilities having diverse social-economic backgrounds to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of their educational life at HEIs.
With a view to support HEIs in all possible manners so that persons with disabilities (Divyanjan) have access to higher education. UGC has developed a draft Comprehensive Accessibility Guidelines and Standards for Higher Educational Institutions and Universities. Feedback / suggestions on the draft guidelines from all stakeholders are invited latest by 7th March 2022 on university Activity Monitoring portal (UAMP) of UGC at https://uamp.ugc.ac.in/.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. The law (29 U.S.C § 794 (d)) applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508, agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information comparable to the access available to others. Read more
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and
local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and
telecommunications. It also applies to the United States Congress.
To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or
association with an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability is
defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that
substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or
record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such
an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are
covered. Read more
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act,
The RPWD Act was enacted in December 2016. It promotes and protects the rights and
dignity of people with disabilities in various aspects of life – educational, social, legal,
economic,cultural and political. It applies to government, non government and private
organisations. It has mandates and timelines for establishments to ensure accessibility
of infrastructure and services. It has implementing mechanisms like Disability
Commissioner’s Offices at the Centre and State level, District Committees, Boards and
Committees for planning and monitoring the implementation of the Act, Special Courts
at District level and so on. It has penalties in case of violation of any provisions of the
Act. Read more
What colleges we tested?
We completed a web audit of 16 educational websites. They are as follows:
1. Govt Zirtiri Residential Science College, Mizoram
2. Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya (SVVV), Indore
3. Saveetha Engineering College, Chennai
4. Dr. B.C.Roy Engineering College, Durgapur
5. Prabhu Jagatbandhu College, Howrah
6. BIT Sindri
7. Assam Don Bosco University
8. Kirori Mal College, Delhi
9. IFTM University, Moradabad
10.Elphinstone College, Mumbai
11. Ravindra College of Engineering for Women (RCEW), AP
12. Maharaja Surajmal Institute, Delhi
13. G.Pullaiah College of Engineering and Technology (GPCET), Kurnool, AP
14. KK Wagh Institute of Engineering Education and Research, Nashik
15. Trinity Institute of Technology and Research, Bhopal.