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Thailand’s National Digital Divide Strategic Planand its Implementation Status Proadpran Punyabukkana Assistive Technology Lab, Department of Computer Engineering, Chulalongkorn University Bureau of Promotion and Development of Information and Communication Technology Usage Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Thailand
The Situation Source: National Statistics Office Thailand 2009 The poor in Thailand is defined as those whose income is less than 1,242 Baht (approximately USD38) per person per month Total population 66.9M, ~11% classified as poor ~0.5M are without any citizenship ~1.1M are persons with disabilities ~6M senior citizens
The 3rd National Quality of Life for Persons with Disabilities Master Plan (2007-2011) • Focus on disabilities with four strategies: • Strategy 1: Promote and support the information accessibility technology and usage • Strategy 2: Promote and support the dissemination of assistive technology and web accessibility technology and usage. • Strategy 3:Promote research and development of assistive technology and web accessibility • Strategy 4: Promote and support disadvantaged citizens to enter the learning cycle so as to develop oneself into a productive citizen
Focusing on Accessibility Formulate national policy and agenda and implementation plans for creating accessible environment for accessing information so as to create a barrier free society for all. Promulgate laws and regulations involving accessibility in building transportation, public services, telecommunication, and information & communication technology including assistive technology so that the persons with disabilities can access information and get the services from government in a barrier free environment. Promote the teaching and learning of the universal design principles. Promote and support the education institutes to offer courses in universal design principles. Develop center for universal design study and expand to the provincial level to provide instruction and demonstration of how to apply such a design principle. Provide a mechanism for monitoring and tracking the accessibility as implemented and in compliance master plan.
The Quality of Life Promotion and Development Act 2007 Section 20(6) requires that the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology must formulate the ministerial regulations defining the compliance issues as demanded by law.
Strategies for the Digital Divide Strategic Plan 2008-2010 Vision: Thailand will be a leader in providing web accessibility usage and R&D of assistive technology Mission: Develop the realization of the importance of bridging the digital divide Promote the Thai government agencies to develop website based on the Thai content web accessibility guidelines Support research and development in assistive technology Implement measures that would enable the disadvantaged to be a valuable Thai citizen
Strategies for the Digital Divide Strategic Plan 2008-2010 Goals: Obtaining sufficient funding from the public and private sector for reducing the barriers of accessing information The government agencies’ website will be re-designed based on the MICT’s web accessibility standard Establishing assistive technology industry The persons with disabilities can acquire and be trained to use appropriate assistive technology devices
Strategies Strategy 1: Promote and support the information accessibility technology and usage Project01: Develop ICT learning centers for the disadvantaged Project02: Develop tax incentive for promoting investment in assistive technology and acquisition of assistive technology products Project03: Set up universal design research center Project04: Develop donation centers for acquiring assistive technology products for distributing the citizens who need the device or products Project05: Develop database for tracking accessibility
Strategies Strategy 2: Promote and support the dissemination of assistive technology and web accessibility technology and usage Project06: Develop training programs for web developers to understand the web content accessibility Project07: Develop e-learning courseware for transferring the assistive technology knowledge
Strategies Strategy 3: Promote research and development of assistive technology Project08: Setup Assistive Technology Academic Co-Lab Project09: Develop open source software for assistive technology Project10: Develop public relation scheme to promote Thai assistive technology innovation Project11: Organize Thailand International Conference on Assistive Technology Development and Deployment Project12: Set up assistive technology research fund
Strategies Strategy 4: Promote and support disadvantaged citizens to enter the learning cycle so as to develop oneself into a productive citizen Project13: Competency analysis of the disadvantaged so as to define the means to improve the quality of life Project14: Training program for content developers to develop online edutainment material by Thailand Knowledge Center Project15: Development and training of assessors in assistive technology Project16: Development of the right attitude for using ICT in everyday living
The Relationship The relationship showing the Digital Divide Strategic Projects driving the 3 main enabling elements (web accessibility, reduce barrier, and assistive technology), and supporting three groups of clients
Implementing the Strategies The Ministry of ICT has proposed the four main strategies and 16 projects to the Royal Thai Government in 2007. It is essential that several government agencies must come together to implement these strategies right. The focus must be on the outcomes of the projects that will create the desirable results. KPIs are designed to measure the outcomes. A project priority ranking criteria consisting of the factors: budget, policy, complexity, and interdependency are used to group the projects into three groups for three year implementation plan.
Summary of WCAG Training Projects and Related Activities Implemented 2007-2009
ICT Learning Center for the Disadvantaged Pilot Project By 2008, the Ministry of ICT had set up 60 ICT Learning Centers throughout the country. In fiscal year 2009, 200 additional ICT Learning Centers will be added. Hence, a pilot project for Year 3, develop an “ICT Learning Center for the Disadvantaged,” is to be implemented.
Budget and Acquisition • To accommodate visually impaired persons, a number of assistive technologies must be acquired • 2008 budget purchase 30 licenses for the following items: • screen reader software, • Thai text-to-speech synthesis software, • screen magnifier software, • display cards, and sound cards. • nine 40-cell Braille display units. • 2009 budget, 40 licenses for each of the software and hardware items will be purchased, in addition to nine sets of Braille printers and display units. This equipment will be installed at selected ICT Learning Centers.
Conclusion • A total of 150 web designers were trained using the Thai web accessibility guide 2008 standards • For the ICT training programs, the trainees are 100 persons with disabilities from Bangkok and 300 from provincial areas. • The redesign of actual government websites involves • the Bureau of Special Education Administration (http://special.bopp.go.th), • the Department of Social Development and Welfare (http://dsdw.in.th/DSDW_New), and • the Department of Skill Development (http://www.dsd.go.th)
Conclusion Web designers trained in WCAG standards now participate in many government website redesign projects. It is hoped that all Thai government websites will achieve AA compliance status within 3 years. The pilot project to transform the ICT Learning Center to accommodate the disadvantaged was implemented. The initial results indicate that the National Social Equality in ICT Master Plan is headed in the right direction, having a real, positive impact on persons with disabilities in Thailand. The first year of implementation covered 42% of the first-year projects.
Conclusion The National Social Equality in ICT Master Plan would assist in the systematic planning for bridging the digital divide, emphasizing web accessibilityand assistive technology development in Thailand. This would increase ICT access and reduce the barriers to accessing information by the disadvantaged, including persons with disabilities, the underprivileged, and senior citizens.
Proadpran Punyabukkana, Ph.D. Assistive Technology Lab Department of Computer Engineering Chulalongkorn University firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for your attention