Muscat: Oman was ranked among the top 10 performers globally and first regionally in Digital Accessibility Rights Evaluation (DARE) index conducted by G3ict, The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, which aims to benchmark digital accessibility for persons with disabilities.
DARE Index score includes points corresponding to the three categories of variables measured: country commitments, capacity to implement and actual outcomes in digital accessibility for persons with disabilities. It indicates the overall progress and momentum of a country in implementing digital accessibility as per the ICT accessibility dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Digital accessibility and inclusion was at the top of ITA’s agenda, programs and projects. The work on digital empowerment started back in 2008 when ITA recognized the importance of making the main portal in Oman fully accessible to enable all citizens and residents of different segments to access the available information and use electronic services.
After ITA ensured the accessibility of its website, in 2009, it started to spread awareness among Government entities to enable PWDs access their Websites. It introduced government and private organizations to the international best practices and standards. In addition, in 2009, under the eSociety development, ITA implemented a number of training programs in using ICT and assistive technologies for PWD.In the same context, in 2010, ITA included web accessibility as main criteria in eContent category in His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment.
In 2012, ITA, in cooperation with G3ICT, Formulated the eAccessibility Policy followed by rolling out an awareness campaign on eAccessibility issues for government and private organizations for 10 sectors.
In 2013 onward, the ITA laid emphasis on digital inclusion by the issuance of a Circulation about the inclusion of eAccessibility in the eTransformation Plans of government entities. Furthermore, ITA supported government and private entities in implementing the best practices and guidelines to make websites and services accessible by PWDs along with offering user accessibility testing for websites and applications.
Digital accessibility – is the extent to which an ICT-based product, tool, information or service can be used by persons with disabilities and the elderly people as effectively as it can be used by a person without disability.