Paraguay pilot experience
Accessible Digital Textbooks that transform education
The Ministry of Education and Science, with the technical and financial support of UNICEF and its partners, is advancing an innovative digital solution – called Accessible Digital Text for students with and without disabilities – created to benefit all children with accessible educational content in alternative formats.
This digital solution, which focuses on the first cycle of basic school education, seeks to eliminate important learning barriers giving all students more opportunities to improve their school results.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach that seeks to improve accessibility of the learning processes, such as information, perception, expression and other emotional aspects. It allows teachers to keep high expectations for students, giving them opportunities to learn and respond in different ways.
In Paraguay, this initiative is part of an even more ambitious project, which seeks to:
- strengthen inclusive education public policy through accessibility,
- allow the implementation of an inclusive education model with an emphasis on UDL, and
- strengthen links with all organizations working in this domain.
In 2022, efforts are concentrated on:
- providing technical assistance for digital textbooks production with a focus on UDL,
- training on the use of methodological and instrumental accessibility measures, through digital media and texts based on the UDL, and
- aligning the ministry's School-at-Home platform with the inclusive approach, based on UDL principles.
In addition to advancing in the development of technical capacities, which contributes to the sustainability of the entire experience, the Ministry of Education and Sciences crucially formed technical teams.
In this way, the different demands of this project can be addressed by professionals with specific technical skills.
“If educational content is accessible in alternative formats, removing barriers to education, all children and adolescents will have the same learning opportunities.”
We are convinced that in order to strengthen the UDL approach and the availability of accessible textbooks in the education system, it is essential to develop the capacities of all the actors that are part of this effort:
- Programmers or professionals from the Ministry of Education
- Publishing houses
- Specialists in the field of programming
- Representatives from organizations of and for people with disabilities and civil society
- Teachers of the grades and schools that will be part of the experience with the adapted textbooks
But, even more importantly, we firmly believe that when the whole of society understands and demands inclusive education to ensure learning opportunities for all children alike, the Paraguayan education system will be a regional benchmark in the incorporation of Accessible Digital Texts based on the UDL approach.
We feel that we are going in the right direction, because:
- We have carried out training processes for Nicaragua and soon we will have an exchange experience with Uruguay.
- We have participated in seminars to influence the entire publishing ecosystem.
- The Ministry of Education and Sciences presented the prototype at the International Book Fair held in June 2022.