Govt websites to be user-friendly for PWDs

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, December 5, 2019

Minister of Public Telecommunications, the Hon. Catherine Hughes, says government websites will soon be user-friendly for persons with disabilities.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conducted web accessibility training for some 30 information technology professionals she disclosed in a DPI interview.

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Minister of Public Telecommunications, Hon. Catherine Hughes, along with several participants of the National Capacity Building on Web Accessibility programme held in August, that see government websites being made accessible to all citizens, including persons with disabilities.

Minister Hughes said how technology is used to improve the lives of persons living with disabilities is very important to the government.

She noted that many local websites are not accessible for persons living with disabilities.

“Here we are talking about if we put a photograph on the website, how does a blind person get a sense of what is in that photograph and so there are very specific coding elements that are embedded in how the website is designed,” Minister Hughes said.

She revealed that a four-member from the US-based ITU had travelled to Guyana to conduct the training with the IT officers who were drawn mainly from the ministries.

“So next year, we should start to see the revamping of websites, especially government websites.”

Minister Hughes said the private sector also stands to benefit.  She explained that “it was a train the trainers’ programme” and they were able to sign an MOU about a month ago with the University of Guyana to offer the training.

Meanwhile, the minister noted that the government had distributed tablets to persons with disabilities through the Guyana Society for the Blind earlier this year. According to Minister Hughes, persons with disabilities have been excelling academically like everyone else through the use of technology.

Pointing out 2019 budgetary measures, she highlighted that three persons with disabilities were able to purchase duty-free vehicles custom-fitted to their specific needs.

Persons with disabilities are also granted tax rebates on handsets with accessibility features, allowing visually and hearing-impaired persons to afford smartphones.

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